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The House on Salt Hay Road: A Novel (edition 2011)
The House on Salt Hay Road by Carin Clevidence
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374173141, Hardcover)Product Description
A fireworks factory explodes in a quiet seaside town. In the house on Salt Hay Road, Clay Poole is thrilled by the hole it’s blown in everyday life. His older sister, Nancy, is more interested in the striking stranger who appears, dusted with ashes, in the explosion’s aftermath. The Pooles—taken in as orphans by their mother’s family—can’t yet know how the bonds of their makeshift household will be tested and frayed. As their aunt searches for signs from God and their uncle begins an offbeat courtship, they are pulled toward two greater cataclysms: the legendary hurricane of 1938 and the encroaching war.
The House on Salt Hay Road is suffused with a haunting sense of place: salt marshes in the summer, ice boats on the frozen Great South Bay, Fire Island at the height of a storm. A vivid and emotionally resonant debut, it captures the golden light of a vanished time, and the hold that home has on us long after we leave it.
Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author Carin Clevidence
Q: The House on Salt Hay Road is your first novel, though you’ve already published a number of short stories. How did writing a novel differ from writing a short story?
Clevidence: Novels for me involve making a big mess and then teasing some sort of order out of the chaos of images, characters, fragments of scenes. My short stories tend to be more idea than character driven, which makes them easier for me to get a handle on as a writer and more straightforward structurally. And with a short story, I always feel that the end is in sight. With the novel, I had to take that on faith.One of the best things about a novel, for me, is the room it gives for relationships between characters to change over time.
Q: The sleepy Long Island town in which The House on Salt Hay Road takes place is practically another character. How did you decide on placing the story on LI and what research did you do to evoke the time and aesthetics of the town?
Clevidence: The novel is set on the south shore of Long Island because that’s where I grew up and I feel that landscape in my bones, as part of me. As a child I ice skated on the frozen canals of the boatyard near our house, crabbed on the river, sailed on the Great South Bay.Researching the novel, I recorded friends and neighbors of my grandparents reminiscing about what life had been like there in the ‘30s. Many of the details – the lone ice skater, the birds at Washington Lodge, the swallows nesting on the mast of the boat – came out of conversations with people who still live in the area. Other details, like the shipwrecks, and the beehive in the walls of the house, came from books of local history. I’m sorry neither of my grandparents lived to see this book published, because they both contributed to it immeasurably.
Q: Is there a character that you relate to the most?
Clevidence: I think I relate to each of them, though very differently: Clayton’s attachment to the landscape, Nancy’s optimism and also her restlessness, Roy’s diffidence, Mavis’s sweet tooth and her heartbreak, Scudder’s capacity for both loyalty and resentment.
Q: Many of the book’s characters make choices not necessarily because of something they want, but to prevent something they don’t want. Do you think this is often how we make choices for ourselves?
Clevidence: That’s an interesting question, and not something I’d thought about in those terms. But yes, absolutely. I think our choices spring from our fears at least as often as they do from our desires.
(Photo by Jennifer Clement)
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:30 -0400)
A fireworks factory explodes in a quiet seaside town. In the house on Salt Hay Road, Clay Poole is thrilled by the hole it's blown in everyday life. His older sister, Nancy, is more interested in the striking stranger who appears, dusted with ashes, in the explosion's aftermath. The Pooles--taken in as orphans by their mother's family--can't yet know how the bonds of their makeshift household will be tested and frayed. As their aunt searches for signs from God and their uncle begins an offbeat courtship, they are pulled toward two greater cataclysms: the legendary hurricane of 1938 and the encroaching war.
(summary from another edition)
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