Gerald Jay Goldberg









Edition History:

The Dial Press, NY, 1970.
(Jacket design by Paul Bacon)

Ballantine Books (paperback edition), NY, 1971.

W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd., London, 1972.
(Jacket design by Jeremy Railton)

Coronet edition (paperback edition), London, 1974.

Japanese translation by Kan Sawamura
Hayakawa Publishing, Inc., Tokyo, 1975.

A New York Times Book Review “Notable Book of the Year”

Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize

A Publisher’s Note makes the following statement on the cover of an unusual pre-publication edition: “This is a specially bound advance reading copy of a major American novel by one of this country’s most accomplished writers. Gerald Jay Goldberg tells of a Vermont farmer caught in a web of violent retribution. A state of mind, a position of existence, a mode of this country, The Lynching of Orin Newfield is the examination of two intertwined yet opposed moralities, a tale of sequential events whose final end is absolutely logical and terrifyingly unpredictable.”

There was considerable Hollywood interest in The Lynching of Orin Newfield following its publication. One of those especially eager to bring Orin’s story to the screen was Jerry Harvey, the programming chief of Los Angeles’s legendary Z channel. Shortly before Harvey’s tragic death, he had arranged with Sam Peckinpah to direct the film. Among others who took options on The Lynching of Orin Newfield were Mace Neufeld and Buck Henry, Victor Drai Productions, and James B Harris. I was asked to write a screenplay of my novel and chose to write it in Paris on the rue de Berri, just down the block from where Thomas Jefferson once lived and a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe and Scott Fitzgerald’s apartment on the rue Tilsitt. One version of that screenplay was done for Universal Pictures, another is in the Moviescripts Collection of Bowling Green State University.



--Despite my impatience with much of contemporary fiction, I still find myself awed that Gerald Jay Goldberg has created a whole man--not just an articulation of his exposed and vulnerable soul, or not just one more “literary character,” but a full-bodied , hot-blooded, ego-screaming, self-contained universe of a man. Newfield looms in one’s own mind with such power as almost to defy the printed page. Newfield is not larger than life, he is life…This is a very funny, very good, and very honest novel.
C.D.B. Bryan
New York Times Book Review (September 13, 1970)

--Gerald Jay Goldberg’s second book is a lusty meld of irony, mockery and mirth; a compound of high and low, comedy and tragedy, gravity and farce. And like all good novels, it is fundamentally subversive…For Newfield is a threat: a debunker, a peeler of masks and flouter of mythologies. The lines are clearly drawn: society versus the “stranger.” A crotchety Meurseult, Newfield asks only to be left alone. But he is too clear-headed, scornful, and blunt. “There’s a sonofabitch force eating away at us, chomping on our days and dreams and swallowing them up alive. And the damn fools call that God…Who betrayed his only begotten son and would do no less for a stranger you can be sure.”
William Beauchamp
Life Magazine (October 23, 1970)

--This remarkable novel, set in a tiny Vermont farming community called Farnum, is centered on an iron man named Orin Newfield, who proves himself not only willing but able to blow up his world to satisfy his desire for revenge. Orin--six feet four, and possessed of astonishing strength and of an even more astonishing capacity for hard work-- has made himself into one of the richest farmers in the area with the help of his miserable wife, Alma, a childless woman whose good looks and good cheer have been quite obliterated in the course of thirty-two years of marriage to a trapped superman. Orin is much too big for Farnum, but old ties, mainly grudges, hold him to his land, and in limiting himself he has deformed himself. The tension and clarity of Mr. Goldberg’s writing leave us no choice but to follow his raging anti-hero’s story from the comparatively mild beginning to the thundering finish. It is impossible to like Orin, but to ignore him is unthinkable.
The New Yorker (April 3, 1971)

--[starred review] A skillful horror tale with peripheral sociological and philosophical emanations, which oddly enough, gains, rather than loses, from the same caustic bite Goldberg applied in the satirical The National Standard (1968). Orin Newfield, a strenuously successful dairy farmer in the town of Farnum, Vermont, and an Ahab with a mouth like a cow shed, is driven by a rage of cosmic dimensions…A high altitude performance, at the close of which the glittering windshields of New York invaders indicate an end to archetypal Yankee enclosures. The Last Puritan--with an extra Y chromosome.
The Kirkus Reviews (July 1, 1970)

--In this satire about a paranoid yet apparently normal, honest and successful dairy farmer in northern Vermont, the author of The National Standard reveals an aspect of the region that few skiers have ever seen…The pace is fast, the style crisp, and the characters sharply drawn.
Publishers Weekly (July 6, 1970)

--Now, thanks to Gerald Jay Goldberg, we have another strong and crazy hero, Orin Newfield, both of his environment and superior to it--as repellent as he is charming, as engaging as he is nuts…The traditional American Gothic elements are here; spookiness mixed with New England austerity, sexuality with prudishness. Newfield is tempted not only by the whorish widow lady, but by a modern witch--who may leave her beer cans on his lawn, but who goes back to those American harpies in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s early stories, particularly “Young Goodman Brown.” Newfield himself is excellent as a character; his mind is complex, his language is fresh, unexpected, and seems unerringly to come from his own lips.
Carolyn See
Los Angeles Times (November 15, 1970)

--This novel by Gerald Jay Goldberg--his second--is an extraordinary tour de force. The events are seen entirely through Newfield’s malevolent eyes, the story told in his earthy idiom. It is a risky technique, but Goldberg manages to steer around every pothole. His style--or, really, Newfield’s speech--is as crisp and dry as a New England winter, which it so vividly evokes, and Goldberg displays a fine comic sense…In Newfield, Goldberg has created one of fiction’s most engaging misanthropes. Except for his unfortunate nondrinking problem, Newfield is the sort of man W.C. Fields might have embraced as a soul brother.
John Blades
Chicago Tribune (October 23, 1970)

--A compelling account of a violent eccentric at odds with almost the whole local community where he lives in rural Vermont who comes through very distinctly as a barbaric force of nature.
The London Times


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