Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Franklin Mason

Four Roses in Three Acts

Four Roses in Three Acts
by Franklin Mason

Price: $10.95


About the author:

The author has actually been in Paris and Pamplona but spends most of his time in Baltimore with his wife, cat, and lots of books. He once worked on the Sunpapers (shades of H.L. Mencken) where he was, he thinks, a copy editor. But he gave it up for the good life. He is at last a writer only, or didn't Scott Fitzgerald say that?

Asked for an estimate of his own work, the author replied: "Possible the finest of our time. John Barth, Samuel Beckett, Henny Youngman must move over." This is short estimate. Do not ask him for a long one.

About Four Roses in Three Acts:

It is Paris and the Twenties again and Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway are much alive. Hemingway again has four wives but this time all at the same time. But that doesn't keep him from running off to Pamplona with Miss Stein and running with the bulls. There's a party at Sara and Gerald Murphy's that is strangely like one of Gatsby's. There's a literary cast of thousands. Some may see it all as a spoof, namely on Hemingway's own "The Torrents of Spring." But all's well that ends well, or so we hope.

"You'd have thought The Torrents of Spring had rendered further parodic visions of the twenties impossible, but you'd have been wrong. Four Roses in Three Acts is both economical and wonderfully sustained." —Hugh Kenner

"Four Roses in Three Acts brightened my whole day. I loved Gertrude Stein "genuising;" I loved Hemingway walking the poodle and Zelda throwing her what-nots around. It's a sparkling, fresh, exuberant book, and Franklin Mason is a very funny writer." —Anne Tyler



In Paris there was Gertrude Stein. She hadn't always been there, she'd been at Radcliffe. She knew William James. "You are all a lost generation," William told her. Gertrude wondered what she'd lost.

William knew how smart she was. "I don't feel like taking a test," Gertrude said. "That's all right," said William. He passed her anyhow. That's smart.

What Gertrude did in Paris was art. She did other things too. But she didn't go hunting and trapping in Paris. Or drinking. At least, as far as we know, she didn't go drinking. Art was it. There were painters all over the place. Picasso, Braque, Juan Gris, you name him. Gertrude had him in tow or he had Gertrude in tow.

It was a great time in Paris and the weather was always fine.

The weather of the Twenties was always fine, up in Michigan, up in Paris, up anywhere. Never in the history of the world had there been so much fine weather.

Sometimes there was a false spring but it didn't stay false long. It got true. Then everybody was happy. People came and went. It was a great time for coming and going. People stayed to tea and had little biscuits. There was talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.

And all this time Gertrude was writing her head off. She wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. But they didn't print and print and print and parint and print. Not even print once.

That's the way it is with writers. They work away and work away. Ernest worked away and worked away and so did Gertrude. But in another part of the world.

Would they ever meet, these two who worked away and worked away? That is the question.