The Master Tanner Heads West

W.C. Bamberger


Oddly, the star of this darkly comic novel set in the 1800s isn’t the master tanner, who plods along much like the na´ve easterner in Stephen Crane’s “The Blue Hotel.” No, it is the tanner’s wife, a sensuous and level-headed woman who sees the West for what it is: a land of violence, yes; but a land of blank deserts signifying opportunity.

ISBN, trade paper: 1-931982-50-3, $14.95                 Sale $7.50

ISBN, library edition: 1-931982-49-X, $25.00              Sale $12.50

201 Pages

About the Author: 

W.C. Bamberger is the author of five previous books of criticism and fiction, including Riding Some Kind of Unusual Skull Sleigh:  On the Arts of Don Van Vliet and the short story collection A Jealousy for Aesop.  He is currently writing a biography of perceptual theorist Adelbert Ames, Jr., and a new novel.  He is editor and publisher of Bamberger Books, and lives in Whitmore Lake, Michigan, with his daughter.

 Excerpt From the Book:   

    The body of the dead sheriff lay stretched full-length on an overturned horse trough in the tornado room of the Royal Hotel. To insure the body against corruption the hotel’s cook had packed it in crumbled sourdough loaves. In the broken bread and the soft shadows thrown by the single tallow candle the body looked like a sleeper in a blanket of flocked Manila. The sheriff’s arms and legs were already cooler than the dry exposed stones and rough-adzed old timbers that shored up the earth walls around him, as they had kept some of the heat the sun had baked into the sandy ground during the day, while the body had kept none. His hips had settled into the gash that had retired the trough, and a single sandstone pearl of blood had dried in the olive notch of the corner of his eye. On his chest rested a freshly whetted knife, its blade a heavy black metal badly smelted, its edges as sharp and waved as a quizzical eyebrow.
    In the well-lighted room above, the investigators were pacing: sober faced men in grey vests, each a firm advocate of lynch law; able-minded frontier jurists with silver-tipped canes and gold watches. Glowering down on them all was a portrait of Chester A. Arthur. Another man had been elected president more than nine months ago, they all knew, but a new portrait had yet to arrive