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PATTERNS ON THE SAND by GAMEL WOOLSEY



PATTERNS ON THE SAND

by GAMEL WOOLSEY

 With an Introduction by BARBARA OZIEBLO


A 'beautifully evocative story' - Gamel Woolsey's second, previously unpublished novel.

gamel woolsey, patterns on the sand, barbara ozieblo, south carolina, gerald brenan, sundial press, east chaldon, chaldon herringPatterns on the Sand is Gamel Woolsey’s ‘long-lost’ second novel. Written in England during the 1940s, it is a tale of youthful love set in Charleston and the South Carolina Low Country of Woolsey’s youth. It centres on the vague yearnings and sexual awakening of her main protagonist Sara, an outsider in the privileged Old South world of her friend Elizabeth Gordon and her brothers Rush and William. But Woolsey also skillfully weaves a murder mystery and an unexpected denouement into this beautifully evocative story.

‘Woolsey’s narrative voice is laconic in its description of the young women’s vapid lives and in its suggestion of stereotypical southern languor, while the imagery, drawn from nature, gives the text a rich, sensual colourfulness.’ So writes Professor Barbara Ozieblo, who unearthed the work from the archives at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at Austin, Texas , in her informative introduction to the published volume. ‘It is also a novel which shows how difficult it is to escape from the constrictions imposed by society and how the past, although it has to be acknowledged, must also be surpassed.’

Woolsey tried to get Patterns of the Sand published in 1947 but after its initial rejection despondently withdrew it and it has essentially remained gathering dust every since. Neither of her two novels nor most of her poetry was published in her lifetime. It would, therefore, doubtless have pleased Gamel greatly to know that on March 18 2011 her achievements were recognized in her home state when she was posthumously inducted into the South Carolina Academy of Authors. 


                     

Price: £14.50   Hardback   ISBN-13: 978-1-908274-13-7   Book Dimensions: 210 × 148 mm   Publication Date: 24 September 2012

Now in stock and available to order direct from The Sundial Press (see end of this page).

Big breakers were rolling in, with white foam creaming at their green-glass edges, monotonously falling and receding, printing for a moment their intricate foam patterns on the sand. Hordes of tiny fiddler crabs skittered away backwards in front of the intruders, absurdly threatening them with inch-long claws before disappearing down their minute holes. Here and there flat sea-biscuits starred the beach among conch and cockle shells and little transparent ones like scraps of Venetian glass.

  Sara wanted to linger and gather these remembered childhood treasures, but they were all unconsciously hurrying towards the sea. Once she did pause for a moment and leaned down to pick up the first bit of coral she had seen, but she started back for just beyond it lay a huge horseshoe crab, its dark shield-shaped shell like a piece of abandoned armour."

From Chapter Two

PATTERNS ON THE SAND

gamel woolsey, patterns on the sand, barbara ozieblo, the sundial press, east chaldon, aiken, south carolina

Full jacket layout



PATTERNS ON THE SAND
 
O Caroline, Caroline, child of the sun,

             
There are battles with Fate that can never be won!

gamel woolsey, patterns on the sand, barbara ozieblo, the sundial press, east chaldon, aiken, south carolina

"In Patterns on the Sand, Elisabeth Gordon, the representative of the Old American South in the novel, softly recites these two lines by the Unionist poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, doing so with barely a trace of bitterness. It is one of many poignant moments where Gamel Woolsey, whose second novel is here at last published for the first time, conveys her recognition that myths of grandeur and memories of defeat cannot sustain the present and that desire, illness, death, war – or simply inescapable fate – control our lives. Just as the War Between the States had to be fought, but could never have been won by the Seces­sionists, so we all, Woolsey tells us, have to fight our own losing battles.

From the Introduction by Barbara Ozieblo
The manuscript of Patterns on the Sand was discovered by Barbara Ozieblo in the Kenneth Hopkins Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, during her time there as a Visiting Research Fellow in 2000.

BARBARA OZIEBLO teaches American Literature at the University of Málaga, Spain. She is the author of Susan Glaspell: A Critical Biography (2000) and is currently working on a joint biography of Alyse Gregory and Gamel Woolsey.


* * * * *

During the years Gamel Woolsey and Gerald Brenan spent in England, before returning to Spain in 1952, Woolsey wrote a second novel, Patterns in the Sand, which, until now, has never been published. Here, she evokes the Charleston she had known as an adolescent, its pseudo-aristocratic mores which stifled all women’s ambitions and desires and made their days melt into one continuous session of waiting for something to happen behind drawn curtains, sheltered from the musty, cloying heat and from the busy, exciting life that men lead in the public sphere. When something does happen to Sara Warren it is the only thing that can happen to a woman in such circumstances: she falls in love and learns the pleasures of the body — and the perils of pleasure. Not directly based on Woolsey’s life, this short novel is more tightly structured than its predecessor, One Way of Love, and more moving. gamel woolsey, patterns on the sand, sundial press,charleston

ReadSC South Carolina Center for the Book:

Woolsey Novel Published in the UK After More Than 75 Years



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by GAMEL WOOLSEY


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GAMEL WOOLSEY
PATTERNS ON THE SAND Reviews
   The Southern Literary Review:
“ … written by a long-lost Bronte sister.”
 
"One of the joys of going into a used bookstore is the possibility of finding some rare, forgotten treasure.  If you’re a bibliophile, like I am, you know the feeling I’m talking about: the excitement of taking something possibly magical home, the deep, satisfying joy of finishing that book, knowing that you’re maybe the first person in a long time to feel that deep, satisfying joy. And that’s how Gamel Woolsey’s Patterns on the Sand  felt."

Full review by Matthew Simmons at the Southern Literary Review
PATTERNS ON THE SAND by GAMEL WOOLSEY
   THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
   19 July 2013 No 8755
Patterns on the Sand was completed in the 1940s but has only now found a publisher. It is a period piece in more ways than one. Written in England but set in Gamel Woolsey's native South Carolina in the 1910s, it depicts the social conventions of early twentieth-century Charleston and reveals a pervasive yearning for the "old days" before the Civil War.

… an intrinsically nos­talgic piece of writing: a loving recreation of a world already homesick for its own past. Woolsey's writing displays its own Southern charm chiefly through lyrical descriptions of the South Carolina landscape, seasons and flavours. She tells of the mist that makes "hori­zons in the South seem further away": her novel reproduces that experience, blurring our sense of destination and time as it carries us into the past on an irresistible emotional tide.” Lucy Carlyle




Read WHEN I AM DEAD AND LAID AT LAST TO REST
A Sonnet by Gamel Woolsey
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