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Suicide Note, by Christopher Davis

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First published by Harper & Row, 1977 Now available through

Tom Hazard, a journalist fresh from Viet Nam in 1968, is in Mexico to write articles about the widows of Pancho Villa. (When his army took a town in the drive to the capital in 1914 Villa always took a new bride). Tom is forty, in the process of divorce. He has spent his career interviewing people "as a man might go drinking." Oppressed by his life, he lives most vividly—a documentary novelist—in the lives of others. News of his father's suicide attempt and of a brutal murder near his father's property on the Connecticut River engages the gears of his disintegration. Unwilling to return home, he leaves Mexico with Micaela, a hotel chambermaid, who persuades Hazard to bring her into the United States. They drive with apparent aimlessness through the Southwest, haunt motels, act out erotic fantasies and hallucinate their most secret wishes: love in a theater of violence. Each uses the other for sex, for money, and at length (if Hazard has no goal, Micaela has) in the service of death. When Tom learns of his father's second and successful suicide attempt, the novel erupts into savage resolution.

Click here to read an excerpt from Suicide Note.

Click here to read an excerpt from the 2007 book Working Words, Creative Reading, Writing, and Teaching by Christopher Davis.

Selected Comments and Review Quotes:

"[Davis is] feverish, almost putrescent with talent."

—Anatole Broyard, The New York Times

"A compact death sonata...crisp and clear...Davis has put more fine writing and sense at beginning-middle-end into these unsettling pages than you'd have thought possible."

—Kirkus (starred)

"A remarkably compact extremely skillful performance: subtle, impeccably constructed, surprising and haunting."

—Los Angeles Times

"Powerful, intricately constructed."

—Book-of-the-Month Club News

"Taut, brief, frightening...Davis's brilliance is to keep the writing precise, sharp, and to terrify with irony and exactness."

—St.Louis Globe

"The novel itself—in its startling brevity, clarity and simplicity—is like a suicide note. And the reader—like a loved-one who finds it—shivers at its cold touch, then gradually compassion overwhelms."

—David Madden, author

"Suicide Note is a marvelous stretch of writing—compelling, taut, utterly absorbing."

—Wright Morris, author