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The Diary of a Rapist

A Novel

List Price: $15.95

May 10, 2016 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.25, 256 Pages | ISBN 9781619025578
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"The Diary of a Rapist is a bold and original piece of writing and further emphasizes the importance of Mr. Connell’s talent." —New York Times Book Review

The story begins with the unhappy marriage of junior clerk Earl Summerfield to the much older Bianca. Feeling victimized by his cold wife and mocking superiors at work, Earl decides to keep a diary, a chronicle of his apparently crumbling marital relations, the paranoia and abuses he is seemingly forced to tolerate at work, and the world around him going to pieces in 1960’s San Francisco. What he sees, what he says, what he wants to say — everything swarms his head and consciousness, inciting and fueling fantasies of love, ambition, and avenging the violent crimes with which he was become obsessed. His angry and unstable mind alternates between feelings of apprehension and disgust, and exploring his own violent, sexual fantasies, and Earl takes action first by breaking into other peoples’ houses and then fixating on various women, before settling with utmost and troubling certainty on the local beauty queen, Mara St. John’s.

This unnerving work is a contemplation of the middle-class existence in a changing world, narrated by an unstable man held hostage by his deteriorating mental state.

EVAN S. CONNELL — long recognized as one of the most important literary voices of contemporary letters — was the author of 17 books, including Mrs. BridgeDeus lo Volt, and the best-selling Son of the Morning Star. He was nominated for a Man Booker Prize for lifetime achievement in 2009, and in 2010 was awarded The Robert Kirsch Award by the Los Angeles Times for his accomplishments as a writer with a substantial connection to the American West. He lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico until his death in 2013.


The Diary of a Rapist is a bold and original piece of writing and further emphasizes the importance of Mr. Connell’s talent. He knows all the colors of darkness and the full sound of the heart’s anguish.” —New York Times Book Review

The Diary of a Rapist builds with considerable suspense. The steady succession of entries conveys a sense of frightful change gradually eating away at a person beneath his outer shell. Yet Summerfield’s monstrousness remains human, and as he sinks deeper into madness, he also lives closer to a vision of truth: Society is corrupt; violence threatens at any moment; everyone, friend, foe, and official, lies to us constantly and shamelessly; we must undertake a sacred mission to punish the foulness and sin of the world. The lunatic has a message and tells it with a surprising and perverse force.” —Roger Shattuck, author of The Banquet Years

“Connell is among the country’s foremost writers.” —Peter Matthiessen, author of The Snow Leopard

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