REMEMBERING RICHARD BRADFORD

POSTED BY: Michael McGarrity
POSTED: December 27th 2016

Earlier in the day, as I was cleaning out and organizing old files, I came across a letter to me from the writer Richard Bradford, author of the acclaimed novels Red Sky at Morning and So Far From Heaven, postmarked in late December of 1995. It was in response to my request for an endorsement of my debut novel, Tularosa, which was due out in spring of 1996. A friend, Richard was the first writer I approached for a quote to use on dust jacket for the book to be published by W.W. Norton. This is what he wrote:
Dear Michael,

On the comment card I sent to Norton, there were a few ways I could go and still keep my integrity:

(1) A sensitive, poetic first novel of bruised feelings about a frail, albino adolescent coming to terms with this ambiguous sexuality. The extended interior monologues (in French) are enchanting.

(2) A thumb in the eye, a knee to the balls! McGarrity makes Hemingway look like a ballet dancer, makes Spillane sound like a pansy. The NRA says, “For those few members who can read, this is the book of the year.”

(3) The most absorbing, and socially useful, book I’ve read since the 1968 edition of Noguchi’s classic Serum Diagnosis of Syphilis.

Anyway, I sent something in, and if the Norton people think it’s useful they’ll use it and send you a copy. Otherwise, they’ll cough nervously and deposit it discreetly in the round file.

See you on the 30th.  Love to Mimi.

Best,

Richard.

P.S. I thought TULAROSA was terrific.

The blurb Richard wrote for the book was as follows:

“Michael McGarrity has a sharp ear for Southwestern talk, a clear eye for Southwestern country, and an alarming knowledge of the reaches of human wickedness. This sure-footed mystery may be his first book but — believe me — this guy’s been practicing.”

Richard died too soon in March, 2002 and I still miss his friendship, humor, and great intellect. If you haven’t yet read his two classic novels of Santa Fe and New Mexico, I invite you to do so.  You won’t be disappointed.  



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