“For much of the twentieth century, these remarkable early novels were hidden in the great shadow of The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Now we can examine them in the spotlight for the gifts that they are—memorable monuments to style and keys to understanding Wilder’s genius.” — Penelope Niven, Thornton Wilder Biographer
Two early novels by the American master with a foreword by Penelope Niven and afterword with documentary material by the author's nephew, Tappan Wilder.
The Cabala, Wilder's first novel, tells the story of a young American student who spends a year in the exotic world of post-World War I Rome. While there, he experiences firsthand the waning days of a secret community (a "cabala") of decaying royalty, a great cardinal of the Roman Church, and an assortment of memorable American ex-pats. This semiautobiographical novel of unforgettable characters and human passions launched Wilder's career as a celebrated storyteller and dramatist.
The Woman of Andros, set on the obscure Greek island of Brynos before the birth of Christ, explores universal questions of what is precious about life and how we live, love, and die. Eight years later, Wilder would pose those same questions on the stage in a play titled Our Town, also set in an obscure location, this time a village in New Hampshire. The Woman of Andros is celebrated for some of the most beautiful writing in American literature."