By Galway Kinnell
Contributor note: in a while by way of Robert Hass
Black Light is a voyage of discovery and transformation. Set in Iran, it tells the tale of Jamshid, a quiet easy carpet mender, who in the future without notice commits a homicide and is compelled to escape. With this violent act his previous existence ends and a wierd new life begins.
Galway Kinnell combines his present for unique imagery with a storyteller's ability during this trip around the Iranian desert—away from the delicate self-righteous virtues of followed ethical culture, into the sickness and sexual confusion of agonizing self-knowledge.
First released in 1966 through Houghton Mifflin, this commonly revised paperback variation of Black Light brings a uncommon novel again into print
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Extra resources for Black Light: A Novel (Revised Edition)
Later Jamshid made a point of inspecting the carpet. The knotted wool was nearly all gone and the carpet had only the airiest residuum of color and design left. It had once been a prayer rug, and the outline of the sacred niche, with its willow tree, was barely visible. In the old days Jamshid would have recommended this carpet be thrown on the trash heap. He persuaded himself as best he could that it was nothing to covet. “Look in here,” Ali said one morning. He pointed into the open mouth of the camel, who lay sleeping.
It was true Ali was stinking. But it seemed to him now that if he had loved Ali it was not entirely for the shine of his spirit, it was also for the glittering darkness of his flesh and bones. Once the light was gone, was the remnant suddenly worthless and foul? Only his own nose, after all, was offended. God did not care about bad smells, nor did Hassan the camel. Nor did the sand and the sky. He decided, cost what it may, he would bear the corpse as far toward Shiraz as he could. In time, if he were faithful enough, his own nose might learn not to notice it.
As he did so his hand felt a sharp, stinging sensation, as if he had just been bitten or shocked. He drew the shears out and flung them into the darkness. They clanged on some rocks. He wiped his hand on his trousers, and took out the food. As he ate he seemed to smell the odor of blood. He thought of Leyla, and all the cheerfulness went out of him. Surely she would be worrying. She was, after all, meek, helpless, and devoted. She would be pacing the garden in anguish. Before long she would go to the shop.