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The Book of Changes

A Novel

by R. H. W. Dillard

Voices of the South

239 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / no illustrations

Fiction

This title is out of print.

The Book of Changes is a great Chinese box of a novel, strewn with conundrums, misleading clues, disintegrating landscapes, false starts, fake quotations, magicians, werewolves, severed hands and heads, and a sinister German dwarf who bumps from scene to scene in various disguises, sexes, and shapes,” wrote the New York Times Book Review in 1974. “Nothing remains intact for long: Men become women or change into screaming wolves; women appear in men’s boxer shorts; suburban folk under the names of Herbert Hoover, Oscar Wilde, and the brothers Marx drift in and out of the novel; even that ingenious puppet-maker and puller of strings, Vladimir Nabokov, shows up briefly.”

In the midst of this bizarre world, R. H. W. Dillard stages an intricate detective story that will keep the reader on edge from its baffling beginning to its astonishing end. What starts as a local murder investigation by amateur sleuth Sir Hugh Fitz-Hyffen uncovers an intricate chain of events that stretches from the mountains of Romania to the ancient strongholds of Scotland to the tenements of Newark, New Jersey. An enormous diamond, a mask said to be that of Fu Manchu, and a series of brutal “Zodiac” killings are but three of the strands in the complex net of this thoroughly postmodern and highly entertaining mystery. 

R.H.W. Dillard , the author of four previous collections of poetry, two novels, and two books of criticism, is professor of English and head of the creative writing program at Hollins College, in Virginia. He is the 1994 recipient of the O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize, given by the Folger Shakespeare Library.

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