Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England"

New from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill: Brock Clarke's An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England.

About the book, from the official website:

“I, Sam Pulsifer, would like you to know that I take full responsibility for burning down the home of Emily Dickinson. However, I cannot take credit for the other literary blazes that were inspired by mine. At least, I don't think I can.”

As a teenager, it was never Sam Pulsifer’s intention to torch an American landmark. He certainly never planned to kill two people in the blaze. To this day, he still wonders why that young couple was upstairs in bed in the Emily Dickinson house after hours.

After serving ten years in prison for his crime, Sam is determined to put the past behind him. He finishes college, begins a career, falls in love, gets married, has two adorable kids, and buys a nice home. His low-profile life is chugging along quite nicely until the past comes crashing through his front door.

As the homes of Robert Frost, Edith Wharton, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and even a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond go up in smoke, Sam becomes the number one suspect. Finding the real culprit is the only way to clear his name — but sometimes there’s a terrible price to pay for the truth.

An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England is a literary tour de force — a brilliant skewering of every memoir every written and a novel that will have readers underlining their favorite passages and reading them aloud.

The Page 99 Test: An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England.