This book, conceived primarily as a novel of the 1930’s, was begun in 1932 in Faribault, Minnesota, when the author was nineteen, and worked on intermittently into 1936 or perhaps 1937 in Omaha, Stockton, Venice (Calif.), Los Angeles and San Francisco. Unfinished, it yet bespeaks the consciousness and roots of that decade, if not its events.
Thought long since lost or destroyed, some of its pages were found intermixed with other old papers last winter, during the process of searching for another manuscript. A later, more thorough, search turned up additional makings: odd tattered pages, lines in yellowed notebooks, scraps. Other parts, evidently once in existence, seem irrevocably lost.
The first four chapters, in final or near-final form when fitted together, presented only minor problems. The succeeding pages were increasingly difficult