Out of print for over seventy years, Gentleman Overboard
by Herbert Clyde Lewis
is being rescued for today’s readers to launch Boiler House Press’s new series, Recovered Books. Halfway between Honolulu and Panama, a man slips and falls from a ship. For crucial hours, as he patiently treads water in hope of rescue, no one on board notices his absence. By the time the ship’s captain is notified, it may be too late to save him... Rediscovered in 2009 by Brad Bigelow as part of tireless research for his popular Neglected Books website, Gentleman Overboard
has since achieved the status of a cult classic and even become something of an international phenomenon, having seen translations into Spanish, Hebrew, and Dutch. The newspaper Ha’aretz has called it ‘A miniature masterpiece that emerged from oblivion’; the Spanish magazine El Cultural dubbed it ‘una perlita’: ‘a little pearl’. A masterful piece of narrative tension, and way ahead of its time, Gentleman Overboard
sets the question of existence in its most basic terms. The story speaks fiercely to the contemporary moment and for all who share a sense of loneliness through having found themselves isolated by politics, disease, economics —or indeed just sheer accident and bad luck. The fate of the novel's hero even has ironic parallels with that of the author, Herbert Clyde Lewis
, who died forgotten and alone in 1950, a victim of Hollywood’s black list, and who has since slipped beneath the waves of fashion and time, but now hopefully is to be recovered from the murky depths for the readership he posthumously deserves.