I have always loved the size of this book — smaller
than most hardcovers — and the title and the photo
design taken by the author in some photo booth
where he kept his hat on and took his hat off.
I'm now ten years older than old man Saroyan
when he wrote this book between living in Paris
and Fresno, 1967-1968, and I have finally
caught up with the great old man since I
first read the book in 1972 when I was twenty
and can now see I either missed or didn't quite understand
yet how very good and wise and understanding this book is.
But I certainly felt something because I've now read the book
every decade since 1972. It's my favorite of all the
many Saroyan books, and if I had to grab
one book rushing out of the house I'd be
pleased that my hand was holding this book when I looked outside.
I'm rereading the book during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Saroyan caught the Spanish influenza and survived in 1918.
In 1968 he is living through the Hong Kong Flu.
Nothing ever stopped him, not even death. I'm reading him.
[ BA ]
The Dial Press 1970