"The number of possible combinations the sections can be read in numbers 15 septillion."
JOHNSON, B. S. The Unfortunates. London: Panther Books Ltd., 1969.
4to., 27 gatherings loosely housed in wraparound and original laminated fall-down-back box; printed 'newspaper clipping' to rear, and reader instructions to inside front cover; pages clean and unmarked; wraparound opened somewhat roughly; box a little scuffed, with some creasing and peeling to the laminate along the spine; a near-fine example overall.
First edition, in association with Secker & Warburg.
An intriguing book-in-a-box which explores the inner workings of a troubled mind in an unorthodox way. Johnson wrote the book as a response to his friend Tony Tillinghast's death, on the back of a promise to him to "get it all down, mate." With a format similar to William S. Burroughs' infamous 'cut-up' method, and reminiscent of Samuel Beckett's style and prose, the innovative technique permits Johnson to echo the random thought processes of his protagonist as he struggles to come to terms with the death of his friend and the loss of a former lover, with sections ranging in length from a single paragraph to 12 pages.
The Unfortunates was not Johnson's first attempt at an experimental novel. In 1964, Albert Angelo had achieved fame for having holes cut through through the pages of the book, revealing a crucial plot spoiler.