Thursday, June 10, 2010


A letter from Dan Halpern at Ecco Press

Nothing Doing is a terrific piece of writing, Thomas - experimental in the ways we used to admire, smart, challenging. You gotta love George the psychiatrist with his suitcase of ties. And a nice touch, the footnote introducing a new character… It seems to me that you’re pursuing some serious insights about life, about the nature of immigration, s subtle book, layered, demanding, moving – the character who can’t read poetry in English, despite his fluency, because he can’t feel in English. Wonder where that came from.

It’s good, but I don’t think it fits on our list – we don’t publish this kind of fiction – and our salespeople don’t know how to sell it. Aside from the fact the fiction market is shit right now, I’d be doing you a disservice having our group attempt to sell this worthy book. I understand this isn’t the kind of response that interests you, but it’s what I’ve inherited here. I wish we could jump in and try to do something with what you’ve accomplished on the page.

I wish you luck finding an editor and publisher who knows how to make magic out of the magic you’ve spun here.


AND another manuscript to put in the pile for the children or widow to dispose of...

I have in the past had this experience. Richard Seaver wrote pretty much the same thing about the previous mansucript and some guys at Dalkey Archive wrote in the same vein.

I send a manuscript to one or two editors. That is it. And then later there is always the accident and I forget what it really feels like to wait and again I send out a new manuscript...

Where is the persistence, you might ask?