Heaven's My Destination: A Novel
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Drawing on such unique sources as the author's unpublished letters, business records, and obscure family recollections, Tappan Wilder's Afterword adds a special dimension to the reissue of this hilarious tale about goodness in a fallen world.
Meet George Marvin Brush—Don Quixote come to Main Street in the Great Depression, and one of Thornton Wilder's most memorable characters. George Brush, a traveling textbook salesman, is a fervent religious convert who is determined to lead a good life. With sad and sometimes hilarious consequences, his travels take him through smoking cars, bawdy houses, banks, and campgrounds from Texas to Illinois—and into the soul of America itself.
people like Father Pasziewski, and why does he let fine fellows like Herb get so mixed up?” “Mr. Brush, it’s awful to think things like that. I won’t listen to you.” “But isn’t there an explanation?” “I won’t listen to you?” Queenie covered her ears with her hands. Suddenly Brush rose and, taking hold of Queenie’s wrists, firmly peered into her eyes. He said, softly, as though to himself, “Queenie, wouldn’t it be terrible if I lost my faith?” Queenie had no protests left in her. She stared
and the use of the garden.” “They aim to please,” said the other. “They don’t take your fingerprints here, though.” “I guess they would for you, if you asked them to. They can see you have the right spirit. You appreciate’m. You’re the kind of prisoner they like to have.” Whereupon Eels lay down and shut his eyes. “They’ll be sorry when you go.” “Oh, I see,” said Brush, laughing. “Everything you say is a joke. I couldn’t understand you at first.” The other opened his eyes and regarded Brush
that the whole universe hates you. And the certain impression that we try to make on their minds is the impression that they are not hated.” Again the judge paused. Then he said, “And you expect the United States to—” Brush interrupted him: “Judge Carberry, people like me, who believe in ahimsa—it’s not our business to worry as to whether other people do or not. It’s our business to do it ourselves and to take every chance, like this, to talk about it to other people. It’s the truth and so
seriously,” he said. “Of course I do! What are you saying! You’re all right. Stick around. I wouldn’t dump you out in a forsaken hole like this for anything. I apologize, and of course I take you seriously. I don’t agree with you always . . . but, oh! I take you seriously, all right!” “Well,” said Brush, relenting, “I’d have been sorry to have left you in the middle of a quarrel like that. It’s happened too often lately, just when I had begun to be friends with somebody. That’s why I did what
this author), his experiences as a wage earner and citizen in the early years of the Great Depression, his temperament, and, perhaps most important of all, his background and upbringing. The principal literary influence driving the book is the picaresque literary form, a subject of great interest to Wilder. By 1930, when his “Picaresque: Baptist ‘Don Quixote’ ” appeared in a list of projects he envisioned, he was teaching Cervantes’ Don Quixote in lecture courses at the University of Chicago.