Goyen passes on traditional conventions of plot and character. The House of Breath is an address to the people and places the narrator remembers from his childhood in small Texas town, Charity. The novel is a meditation on the nature of identity and origins, memory, and time's annihilation of life. This is the restored version, going back to Goyen's version as it was published in 1950 with an afterword by Reginald Gibbons, professor of English at Northwestern University and the former editor of TriQuarterly magazine.
"The House of Breath is not a novel at all but a sustained evocation of the past, a long search for place and identity, and the meaning of an intense personal experience, an attempt to cleanse the heart of its mysterious burdens of guilt... The writing as a whole is disciplined on a high plane, and there are long passages of the best writing, the fullest and richest and most expressive, that I have read in a very long time." --Katherine Anne Porter
William Goyen (1915-1983) was one of America's most innovative writers of fiction. Born in a small town in East Texas, his roots and early years stuck with him through his writing. He served on an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific during WWII where he began the writing of his debut novel, The House of Breath. He published five novels, four story collections, five plays, two works of non-fiction and a collection of poetry.