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First published in 1953 by Doubleday (U.S.) and Jonathan Cape (U.K.), The Land that Touches Mine is arguably the finest of John Sanford's eight published novels. The New York Times lauded the book's "muscular and economic prose," stating that "John Sanford makes a powerful bid for top billing in current fiction [with this] poetic, tragically intense tale," and concluded, "It is an absorbing narrative by a writer of great distinction and ability, guaranteed to hold the interest of every reader interested in the individual isolations and distortions of our modern world." In England, the New Statesman compared Sanford's use of language to William Faulkner's Soldier's Pay and Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano, highlighting "the italicized flashbacks that Mr. Sanford uses with such skill." And the Manchester Guardian wrote that "the combination of the tough and the tender in the texture of the book is curiously real and satisfying."
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|Publisher:||Richard Schober D/B/A Tough Poets Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.52(d)|
About the Author
While studying law at Fordham University, Sanford had a chance encounter with his childhood friend Nathan Weinstein, who was then going by the name of Nathanael West (later known for such works as Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust) and working on his first novel. Inspired by West, he ultimately decided to devote all his time to writing. William Carlos Williams, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce were also important early influences on Sanford's themes and style.
In 1935, Shapiro adopted the name of John Sanford, the protagonist in his first novel, The Water Wheel (1933), in hopes that, in a time of rising antisemitism in the U.S., a gentile name would aid book sales.
Sanford was married for over 50 years to screenwriter Marguerite Roberts, who is best known for scripting John Wayne's 1969 Oscar-winner, True Grit. Both Sanford and Roberts were blacklisted during the McCarthy era of the 1950s.
Sanford wrote half of his books after he was 80. He published a five-volume autobiography, for which he received a PEN Award and the Los Angeles Times Lifetime Achievement Award. He left three unpublished novels and was writing up until a month before his death at the age of 98. During his later years, Sanford was variously described as the "most unjustly neglected major writer in America" and "America's greatest unread writer." Just before his death, the Los Angeles Times hailed Sanford as "an authentic hero of American letters."
Jack Mearns is a professor of psychology at California State University, Fullerton. He is the author of John Sanford: An Annotated Bibliography (Oak Knoll Press, 2008).