The Devil's Hand: A Novel


This realistic second novel by the author of Weeds depicts the struggle for survival of two unmarried women in California's Imperial Valley in the 1920s.

In her lifetime, Edith Summers Kelley had one novel published, the recently rediscovered Weeds,firstpublished in 1923. Fifty years later this remarkable novel was republished and was, belatedly, recognized as a "lost masterpiece," "a major work of American fiction." Following the republication of Weeds,the manuscript for this previously unpublished novel, The Devil ' s Hand, was found among his mother's papers by Patrick Kelley, who has written an appended memoir.

In this second novel, according to Matthew J. Bruccoli, Edith Summers Kelley again proves herself to be a superior writer of realistic fiction.

The story is about fragile and dreamy, romantically unfulfilled Rhoda Malone and her stalwart and forthright friend Kate Baxter who, enjoying the emancipation of women after World War I, leave Philadelphia and the monotony of office jobs to become farmers. In California's Imperial Valley, among Japanese, Hindus, Mexicans, and a scattering of Americans, the two women become trapped in the struggle for survival.

Like Weeds, The Devil ' s Hand,has strength, fine emotional control, and is also an important sociological novel. Readers who hailed the rediscovery of Weeds will welcome this impressive recovered novel.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Matthew J. Bruccoli
  • Patrick Kelley
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Carbondale, IL
Publication year:
  • 1974


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