Books Of Friends
BOOK OF FRIENDS - (Book Of Friends, Volume I)
The writing of the series began with the new year in 1973. "I have begun a big book - 'The Book Of Friends,' I am calling it tentatively," wrote Miller to Lawrence Durrell on January 3, 1973. "It's easy going, to my liking. Simple, nostalgic, perhaps even sentimental at times" ... "The past is like an open book -- rather, a cinerama spactacle. Nothing is ever lost, what! Have 30 friends listed. Hope I can finish it befoe I croak."
Miller's first installment (over 100 pages) took two years to complete. Miller's agent at the time, Jack Ketchum (who's real name is actually Dallas Mayr), made the deal with Capra Press to publish it (from Ketchum interviews: ref 1/ ref 2).
The book was released in limited and trade editons by Capra Press in 1976, then as a paperback in 1977. [ref. Ashley's variations]. The U.S. cover was adorned with a Miller watercolour he titled "Happy Days."
MY BIKE & OTHER FRIENDS - (Book Of Friends, Volume II)
Miller continued to write through ailing health. In a letter to Durrell from June 16, 1977, he declared that he had completed volume two ["(five Jews, one Gentile and the last chapter -- 'My Best Friend' -- about my racing wheel!)]. [ref. Durrell-Miller, as above; p. 486]
Three editions of this volume were published in 1978, totalling just less than 10,000 copies overall [ref. Ashley]. You can find a description of the Joe Gray chapter on the PBA Galleries wesbite [Personal Archive of HM Pt. 2, Item 39]
JOEY: A LOVING PORTRAIT OF ALFRED PERLES TOGETHER WITH SOME BIZARRE EPISODES RELATING TO THE OPPOSITE SEX - (Book Of Friends, Volume III)
The final book of friends is partly a profile of Alfred Perles (ak.a "Joey," "Alf," etc). The majority of the book is actually filled out by impressions of 13 women in his life (amusingly, Miller refers to them as the "other women in his life," besides Perles that is). In the preface to this section, Miller states that, at the end of December 1977 (just having turned 86), he became inspired to write about these women at a time when he thought that he would "do very little further writing, if any at all."
Over the next year and a half, Miller wrote this final part of the series. While reviewing the proofs in June 1979, he wrote to Lawrence Durrell: "It's a queer book with ten stories about women-in-my-life tacked on, together with an epilogue about Anais and her unfair treatment of Joey..." [The Durrell-Miller Letters 1935-80, p.505] From what Miller says, I assume that three more profiles were quickly added before it went to press (but the epilogue remained). Joey was published by Capra Press in October 1979.
I. Joey (Part 1)
II. Joey (Part II)
IV. Miriam Painter
IX. Aunt Anna
X. Florrie Martin
XI. Edna Booth
XIII. Ruth And The Fur-Lined Coat
XIV. Renate And The Astrologer
XV. Brenda Venus
In the 1980s, all three books of the trilogy were published in a single collection.