a novella by Randall Watson
978-1-948692-06-9 paper 16.95
978-1-948692-05-2 ebook 9.99
5½x8½, 144 pp.
No Evil is Wide is the violent story of an unnamed narrator, the prostitute he is tasked to “find,” and Carpenter Wells, a man who has lost his soul and wanders, empty, unable to quench his desire. The remembrances of the narrator revolve around sexual awakening, family distance and dissolution—how they crumble to common and inevitable animalism. It is filled with philosophical epistles to the reader that concretize the themes of the work. The narrative that allows the reader purchase within the text begins with the narrator locating the unnamed girl while the world devolves into a chaotic madness of bombings and destruction not dissimilar to contemporary existence. This chaos serves as an uncanny reminder of the everyday violence we overlook.
Randall Watson’s first book, Las Delaciones del Sueño, was published in a bi-lingual edition by the Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, Mexico. His The Sleep Accusations received the Blue Lynx Poetry Award and his novella, Petals, (as Ellis Reece), won the Quarterly West Novella Contest. He is also the editor of TheWright of Addition, An Anthology of Texas Poetry published by Mutabilis Press. No Evil is Wide is a revised version of Petals, which received the 2006/07 Quarterly West prize in the novella, Judged by Brett Lott.
just read [this] novella and loved it. gorgeous sentences. so lush even for all its darkness. something sort of noir-ish about it. i was so touched . . .
—Nance Van Winckel, author of Our Foreigner, Book of No Ledge, and Pacific Walkers
I would not have picked the winner I have were anyone to try and tell me what it was about, what it was like, what it was. And in a way I am still struggling to figure out how to describe [it] except to say it is a work of art. Sometimes reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, sometimes Kem Nunn, there is to this work the kind of ambition, the sort of bravery and insight and quality of writing and mind behind it that all defy easy summation. The language to this, its pace, its architecture, its audacity and cruel bone-jarring brutality and the cold and loving and miserable and strong-hearted vision of it just blew me a way. Period. This was a meaningful, powerful, flat-out, go-for-the-throat read on all fronts. And what makes it especially strong is that throughout this dark dark dark story there is a strand of hope, unbeatable, undeniable, unquenchable hope, despite the ugly and graphic and deadly world the story inhabits.
—Brett Lott, former editor of Quarterly West, current editor of Crazy Horse
This is a fascinating read. Randall Watson is an award winning author and one of these awards was for Petals, which received the prize in the novella category from the 2006/07 Quarterly West. This book is the revised version of Petals.
The poetry of this book is astounding. It reads like a glorious symphony sounds, even triumphing over the cruelness of the world depicted within. The story is complex and not for the fan of light reading, for this reads much more like classical literature. Watson’s story centers around an unnamed narrator and his obsession with a prostitute in a world filled with evil. In-between the story of finding her, the author weaves the philosophy and beliefs of the narrator. The book will challenge you at every turn.
If you enjoy Randall Watson’s No Evil is Wide, you may also like A. Rooney’s The Autobiography of Francis N. Stein: The Last Promethean.