Three Days Before the Shooting...
January 26, 2010 3:10 PM   Subscribe

Ralph Ellison's unfinished second novel, Three Days Before the Shooting... was published today by The Modern Library. The 1,101-page book is the result of an extensive editing process. Something of a review is here. (Previously.)
posted by Prospero (11 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Juneteenth doesn't count?
posted by Joe Beese at 3:12 PM on January 26, 2010

er... never mind.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:14 PM on January 26, 2010

Juneteenth was a chunk that was carved out of this larger work by John Callahan, Ellison's literary executor--it looks like it takes up a little less than a third of it.
posted by Prospero at 3:17 PM on January 26, 2010

Why is it fifty bucks?
posted by shothotbot at 3:29 PM on January 26, 2010

$30 at Amazon
posted by smackfu at 3:31 PM on January 26, 2010

Still seems expensive for new literary fiction.
posted by shothotbot at 3:37 PM on January 26, 2010

But the only thing that went on sale this week from Random House that costs more is The Chestnut King unabridged audio CD, at $54.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:38 PM on January 26, 2010

shothotbot: "Why is it fifty bucks?"

Don't gripe. If it came with an ending, they'd have charged you a C-note.

The editors are clear in stating that "it offers no clear resolution to the story it tells; it doesn't end so much as stop."
posted by Joe Beese at 3:39 PM on January 26, 2010

Why is it fifty bucks?

I'm guessing because Random House feels the market for it is smaller, and they have to make their money back somehow. I have the Modern Library hardcover edition of the new unabridged English translation of Les Miserables that they published in 2007--it's similarly designed, and longer than this (1,330 pages, with identical typesetting), but it has a far lower retail price of $28.

The perception of limited interest for this might be because when the editors say "unfinished," they don't mean it in the sense that 2666 (for example) was unfinished--much of it is made up of fragments, Ellison's notes, textual variants, and so on. The good news is that the editors resisted the impulse to shape it into the completed work it clearly isn't--there are editorial notes throughout that tell you what you're about to read, but that's pretty much it. However, because of this the best method of dealing with the text isn't immediately apparent--whether you should read it in order, or browse until you feel you've had enough.
posted by Prospero at 4:00 PM on January 26, 2010

I have to say that, while I'm kind of excited about this, I really thought Juneteenth was unsuccessful. I'm not sure how to feel about that being part of this.
posted by OmieWise at 4:05 PM on January 26, 2010

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