Seed: A Novel (Paperback)

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Seed is the story of Bill Starr’s final days. Childless but with a lifetime’s worth of possessions and a nearly infinite web of extended family, Bill endeavors to empty his house completely before he dies by summoning distant relatives to claim their inheritance. Many of his letters go unanswered, but those who do appear show up only to find that their reward is often much less valuable than they might expect.
What they get instead are Bill’s memories, made vivid by each item from the past, memories that are more exotic and curious than the lives currently lived by his young relatives.
Accompanied by his housekeeper, Ramona, and his young gardener, Jonathan, Bill is a somewhat cantankerous, wildly intelligent, and often forgetful man who recalls and speaks to his passed wife, often thinking that she's not dead. His unwillingness to recognize what has happened to her and to give away his only possession of any value, a 1937 Pierce-Arrow automobile that they bought together, becomes the measure of his grief and of his love in this profoundly funny novel that faces death and love sincerely.

About the Author

Stanley Crawford was born in 1937 and is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Sorbonne. He is the author of several novels, among them Petroleum ManLog of the S.S. the Mrs UnguentineTravel Notes, and Gascoyne, as well as the memoirs A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm and Mayordomo: Chronicle of an Acequia in Northern New Mexico. He is coproprietor with his wife, Rose Mary Crawford, of El Bosque Garlic Farm in Dixon, New Mexico.

Praise For…

"Everything must go in this playful snapshot of an end-of-life giveaway, the sixth novel from an offbeat author (Petroleum Man, 2005, etc.).Bill Starr is so old almost all his friends and close relatives are dead. The childless widower lives alone in a renovated 18th-century farmhouse somewhere in the United States. Ramona, his undocumented Hispanic housekeeper, is both compassionate guardian and comic relief. Here's Crawford's shaky premise: Bill, less concerned about the past than the future, will bestow his possessions on his dimly remembered extended family, who will collect their booty in person, and place their names on an improvised family tree: 'Things are seeds. I wish to plant mine into the future.' Their haphazard survival appeals to his free spirit. The novel alternates between visits from these relatives, who are meeting their benefactor for the first time, and Bill's random thoughts. The tone is light and breezy. His pride and joy is Desdemona, his 1937 Pierce-Arrow, named by his late wife. (Its hood ornament makes for good cover art.) Bill awards it impulsively to a likable young man with whom, improbably, he shares a grandfather; much better him than Bill's greedy stepson. Though the old guy tells us nothing about his career in marketing or his happy marriage, he allows us a few peeks into his past. He sowed his wild oats in Europe with both genders: "Sex for sex's sake." Now he ogles, discreetly, the muscular yard boy. Creaky limbs are a constant reminder of mortality: 'In the old days it was…London to Paris. Now just recliner to chaise lounge.' Yet Bill's worldview is benign. He has no epiphanies to offer, for he ends as befuddled as he began, but he's willing to embrace failure along with success. Gossamer-thin entertainment." —Kirkus Reviews

“Seed is one of the finest novels I have ever read.”
—Michael Ventura, author of Night Time Losing Time and The Zoo Where You’re Fed to God

“Seed is an anti-quest narrative: our hero sleeps, aggrieved, in his chair, dreaming of shedding possessions. He is ferocious, uncertain, disheveled, a spirit kindred to Unguentine, a mess, and easy to love. Another brilliant and hilarious novel by a great American writer.”
—Noy Holland, author of Swim for the Little One First and What Begins with Bird

“Stanley Crawford has given us this masterwork, a book so funny, so generous, and so perceptive that it feels like an unforgettable evening spent with your family’s weirdest and wisest scion. Seed shows us that the twilight we must face—both individually and as an empire—can be more illuminating than our most verdant noon.”
—Ken Baumann, author of Solip and Say, Cut, Map

Product Details
ISBN: 9781573661836
ISBN-10: 157366183X
Publisher: Fiction Collective 2
Publication Date: April 2015
Pages: 192
Language: English