Heaven's My Destination: A Novel
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Drawing on such unique sources as the author's unpublished letters, business records, and obscure family recollections, Tappan Wilder's Afterword adds a special dimension to the reissue of this hilarious tale about goodness in a fallen world.
Meet George Marvin Brush—Don Quixote come to Main Street in the Great Depression, and one of Thornton Wilder's most memorable characters. George Brush, a traveling textbook salesman, is a fervent religious convert who is determined to lead a good life. With sad and sometimes hilarious consequences, his travels take him through smoking cars, bawdy houses, banks, and campgrounds from Texas to Illinois—and into the soul of America itself.
how it is.” “She’s a . . . divorced woman?” asked Brush, softly. “Yeah, yeah. So you see!” and Blodgett winked with fraternal complicity. Then he opened the door and announced, with nervous cordiality: “Well, Marge, look who’s here.” Margie McCoy was sitting on the bed, her feet on a newspaper, her back against the iron bedstead. Her face was still sullen. She held a tall glass in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. She acknowledged Brush’s greeting by only the slightest movement of her
“Yes, sir, about how everybody who mentions the depression must pay a fine of fifteen cents. D’you like it?” “Yes,” said Brush. “But you young people run across the lake and try it. You try it and tell me how it is.” “Now don’t stay too late, Mississippi. You know how I worry,” said her mother. “I can’t go tonight, Mrs. Corey,” said Brush. “I’ve been asked to sing at the camp fire at eight o’clock.” Back of his words lay his astonishment that anyone could propose paying for a meal in one
downward on the grass. “Why, Mr. Brush, what’s the matter?” “I don’t want to go on living, Queenie. I don’t want to go on living in a world where things like that can happen. Something’s the matter with the world, through and through.” At first, Queenie did not answer. She pressed her knuckles against her mouth. Then she said, “Mr. Brush, I’m ashamed of your talking that way.” “I believe there’s a God, all right; but why’s he so slow in changing the world? Why does he deliberately disappoint
for years on end, and the government does that by the thousands. The government commits thousands of crimes in a year. And every crime makes more crimes. The only way out of this mess of crimes is to try this other way.” The judge was silent, stroking his face. The silence was filled by the anxious scribbling of the stenographer and the sounds of automobile horns from the street. He glanced at the audience which sat watching him with fallen jaw. “And where did you get that idea?” he asked.
health and for understanding America and its people, manual work on farms throughout the country. His father’s dream for his boys is reflected in one of Wilder’s favorite lines from Heaven: “I didn’t put myself through college for four years and go through a difficult religious conversion in order to have the same ideas as other people have.” This photograph was taken shortly after the senior Wilder’s resignation from the consular service in China for health reasons, and the subsequent