Thursday, February 5, 2009

Not Happy

I'm not The Happy Man tonight. I'm "The Ecstatic Man".

After years of searching, it arrived in a yellow, padded envelope this afternoon.
Yes, folks, The Happy Man hardcover. The 1st Edition, for Pete's Sake!

Isn't it stunning?

I already raved about the paperback in a previous blog, "The Inside Scoop on Happiness", which you can find at: I'm not going to go all redundant on you here.
This is Eric C. Higgs, the author of what I consider to be one of the most underrated American novels of the 20th century. His pic, which I have never seen before, is to be found inside the book's rear dust jacket.

He looks amiable, but not overly so (which is consistent with the character of his book).

The Happy Man -- in hardcover (St. Martin's Press, '85), and in paperback (Paperjacks,'86) -- has been MIA for well over two decades; that's a long time for a classic to be ignored by publishers.

Surely it's time for a relaunch!

Perhaps Leisure's Dan D'Auria, who has a bloodhound's nose for quality meat, could be convinced to repackage and republish this sardonic slice of evil and ship it out into the cruel world once more.

If that fails, perhaps Gauntlet Press or Cemetery Dance? I'm confident The Happy Man will find himself a warm, wet publishing place eventually.

The St. Martin's Press jacket copy is a persuasive piece of macabre marketing:

The back jacket offers this compelling sinew from the novel (I have desaturated it for easier reading):

The striking jacket illustration is credited to Sam Salant.

For comparative purposes, I leave you with a late night re-run of the Paperjacks paperback:
Buon appetito!


  1. wow. WOW ! THIS is why i love the internet. i read this years ago - there is a paperback somewhere around here - the one with the eyeball - and LOVED it. i would never imagine finding someone else who even heard of it and yet ... well, here we are !
    i want to talk to you about this. i am a writer too. do you think anyone optioned the film rights to it ?
    crazy, man. i remember this so well. the hot tub scene. the bondage gear murder. the dead mexican. everything.
    ill contact you separate about this, for sure.

  2. Hello dany,
    I also discuss this on:
    One of my favorite novels ever.
    I've never discovered that it (or Dopplenganger)have been optioned.
    If you want to discuss further, just email me at
    Thanks for reading. I'm convinced nobody reads most of the stuff I write about -- well, almost nobody.