On a ramble through the foothills of a bucolic English past, a country priest meets Death. The two strike up a friendship, and Death follows the priest into town. What follows is a cavalcade of comedy and horror, a set of parables that explore humanity in all its hypocrisy, weakness and cruelty.
Unclay, which has been perpetually out of print since the 1930s, finds new life in this handsome reissue by New Directions. It's unlike anything else I've read: so wicked, so suffuse with cynicism, yet somehow still so funny, playful and poignant.— From Theo
New Directions is proud to present one of the most spellbinding novels you will read this year, and certainly the weirdest.
First published in 1931, Unclay glows with an unworldly light--Death has come to the small village of Dodder to deliver a parchment with the names of two local mortals and the fatal word unclay upon it. When he loses the precious sheet, he is at a loss, and also free of his errand. Hungry to taste the sweet fruits of human life, Mr. John Death, as he is now known, takes a holiday in Dorsetshire and rests from his reaping. The village teems with the old virtues (love, kindness, patience) and the old sins (lust, avarice, greed). What unfolds is a witty, earthy, metaphysical, and delicious novel of enormous moral force and astonishing beauty.