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A Novel by Alfred de Grazia


Note of August 23, 2000 regarding BLACKOUT:

Alfred de Grazia wrote this novel in the month following the amazing mass experience in November 1965 of a total blackout of electricity in New York City. He made his way from his office into the streets, visited several of his haunts, like the Cedar Tavern, and returned to his pied à terre at Fifth Avenue and Washington Square. He slept briefly, aroused himself, and was plotting his novel when the lights came on, first entitling the book "Twelve Hours by Candle." He walked out onto the streets with the dawn.

Prompt publication was offered by Random House Publishers, but turned down because the book was to be one in a volume of three first novels by different authors. His agent did not come up with another offer, so the manuscript was put aside for thirty-five years until its present publication on the Web.


The story of Thomas may be skimpy. For one thing, I went to bed not long after the lights blacked out. I did consider the alternatives to sleep, but they made me drowsy. Hence the story lacks detail. I could not persuade myself to prowl the city with a notebook and tape recorder. I am paid as a research scientist, but I am singularly uncurious. Why do people say scientists are driven by curiosity? They like nothing better than a cut-and-dried task.

As for Thomas, I am not mad about this colleague of mine. It was typical of such a humanist to spend the night in a stew. His story was divulged to me proudly, as if he deserved a medal for his absurdity, . . . even as if he had learned something from the night.

I believe that you can rely upon my version. Everything is told through his eyes, but I have edited and abbreviated his vision. A twice-told tale may be truer than the once-told, and both more true than the remorseless count down called life.

"Look, stranger, at this island now . . . "


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