Arts and Entertainment

Elsewhere in Books | Selden Edwards’ ‘Little Book’ bears giant story

Selden Edwards brings his 2008
Selden Edwards brings his 2008 'Little Book' — 30 years in the making — to Eagle Harbor Books, Oct. 1.
— image credit: Courtesy Photos

Quite admirably, there are very few things ‘little’ about Santa Barbara, Calif., author Selden Edwards’ debut novel, “The Little Book.”

For starters, there’s the story’s main character Wheeler Burden — a former Harvard baseball hero turned rock and roll icon, born Frank Standish Burden III, heir to a famous Boston banking family — he, himself, is larger than life.

Then, there’s the novel’s centuries-spanning plot wherein the exiled heir, living in San Francisco at age 47 in 1988, mysteriously awakens in his modern state having time-traveled to 18th century Vienna, Italy.

And then, there’s the extraordinary story of how the book actually came to be.

Edwards began writing the time-traveling 20th century epic as a Harvard graduate student in 1974. Over the next three decades, he would sustain the manuscript and its main character through numerous rejections, revisions and rewrites, finally releasing the book this past year to a gleaming response from the literary community.

Publisher’s Weekly calls the book a “sweet, wistful elegy to the fantastic promise and failed hopes of the 20th century.”

Local booksellers at Eagle Harbor Books have pegged it a classic in the making.

Edwards comes to the Bainbridge to talk about the book and its creation at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at Eagle Harbor Books, 157 Winslow Way on Bainbridge. Info: www.seldenedwards.com, www.eagleharborbooks.com.

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