Monday, October 31, 2011

An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England by Brock Clarke

It's hard to imagine a character more luckless than Sam Pulsifer, the antihero of An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England. As a teenager he unwittingly sets fire to the Amherst home of poet Emily Dickinson, reducing it to ashes and snuffing out the landmark's docent and her husband in the process. He does ten years for his crime and returns home to find, to his utter amazement, hundreds of letters from people suggesting other famous authors' homes that deserve torching.

But Sam only wants to extinguish his fiery past and move on. With a new family, a career, and a life that's back on-track he keeps his incendiary history a secret until the unlucky day a stranger appears, introducing himself as the only child of the couple who died in the Dickinson House blaze. "You ruined my life," he tells Sam, "and now I'm going to ruin yours."

In short order the homes of Robert Frost, Edith Wharton, Herman Melville and other New England writers suffer suspicious blazes very much like Sam's trademark crime. His attempts to prove his innocence make for a darkly humorous story that will please any reader drawn to quirky characters, unlikely scenarios and a plot that twists and turns. At 305 pages  it's a quick and satisfying read.


No comments:

Post a Comment

What can I post on your wall?
Commenting & Posting Guidelines

Welcome to your library on social media!

Pima County Public Library (PCPL) offers blogs and other social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter for educational, cultural, civic, customer service, and recreational purposes. They provide a limited (or designated) public forum to facilitate the sharing of ideas, opinions, and information about library-related subjects and issues.

By choosing to comment or post on our social media accounts, you agree with the following:

Comments and posts are moderated by library staff, and the library reserves the right to remove any that are unlawful or off topic. Posts containing the following may be deleted:
Copyright violations
Off-topic comments
Commercial material/spam/solicitation
Sexual content, or links to sexual content
Threatening or harassing postings
Libelous or other kinds of personal attacks
Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity
Content that reveals private, personal information without permission
Vulgar language or content
Comments in support of or in opposition to political campaigns or ballot measures
Content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification

P.S. Protect your privacy. Don't post personally identifying information in these public spaces, including details like your library card number, phone number, or medical information, etc.

Young people under age 18, especially, should not post information such as your school, age, phone number, and address.