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I am mailing you today an advance copy of my new book3. Only two copies of the book have been bound up, and I am sending one to you and the other to an old friend4 in Boston5 who is ill. The book isn't formally "out" and on sale until December 7, so this copy is for you alone.
When you last wrote me, you said that you care less and less for fiction. But maybe this book will get by with you because not very much of it is actually fiction. It is so largely made up of old family stories and neighborhood stories that I scarcely know where my own contribution to it begins. The epilogue6 is literally true, every word of it. And it was the greatest experience of my early childhood - to see those two meet beside my bed, when I knew the mother7 so well and had heard about the daughter8 ever since I could remember anything.
I have been home from Canada9 only a few
weeks and letter writing has been out of the question for me
eEver since I began to write
it I have wanted to send you this book, hoping that something would ring true to
your inward self. The stage trappings of such a narrative are so easily come by, but
there is something else which eludes and eludes - - - I mean the Terrible, domesticated and a part of easy every day
life. That's what I was thinking about.
In our part of Virginia10 the house servants spoke one kind of English to white folks and another to each other.