Clay's Quilt by Silas House | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Clay's Quilt
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Clay's Quilt

4.6 16
by Silas House
     
 

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On a bone-chilling New Year's Day, when all the mountain roads are slick with ice, Clay's mother, Anneth, insists on leaving her husband. She packs her things, and with three-year-old Clay in tow, they inch their way toward her hometown along the treacherous mountain roads.

That journey ends in the death of Clay's mother. It's a day that comes to haunt her only

Overview

On a bone-chilling New Year's Day, when all the mountain roads are slick with ice, Clay's mother, Anneth, insists on leaving her husband. She packs her things, and with three-year-old Clay in tow, they inch their way toward her hometown along the treacherous mountain roads.

That journey ends in the death of Clay's mother. It's a day that comes to haunt her only son, who's left without a family and a history. This is the story of how Clay Sizemore, a coal miner in love with his town but unsure of his place within it, finds a family to call his own.

And it's the story of the people who become part of the life he shapes: Aunt Easter, always filled with a sense of foreboding and bound to her faith above all; Uncle Paul, quietly producing quilt after quilt; Dreama, beautiful and flighty; Evangeline, the untameable daughter of a famous gospel singer; and Alma, the fiddler whose song wends its way into Clay's heart. Together, they all help Clay to fashion a quilt of a life from what treasured pieces are around him.

Authentic and moving, Clay's Quilt is both the story of a young man's journey and of Appalachian people struggling to hold on to their heritage.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
A lovely and accomplished literary debut.
Roanoke Times
Unpretentious and clear-eyed...Silas House has crafted a tale whose joys are as legitimate as its sorrows.
Bookpage
...a treasure to be handed down from one reader to another.
Publisher's Weekly
Deftly written, replete with wisdom and remarkably light on sentimentality, this lovely novel makes plain the value of family...
Kirkus
An appealing and promising debut.
Southern Living
...the author sews a flawless seam of folks who love their home and each other.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A deep love for home suffuses this heartfelt, well-crafted debut novel set in the Kentucky hills. Clay Sizemore, a young coal miner from a big family and a small town, never doubts that he will live out his life in the place where he was born. His mother, Anneth, was killed when he was only four, and he never knew his father, but he is surrounded by the people he loves: his big-hearted, God-fearing Aunt Easter; Dreama, the beautiful cousin he loves like a sister; and Cake, his party boy best friend. Clay and Cake work hard, and play hard at the local honky-tonk, but both want more from life than work, drink and empty sex. For Clay, the future is Alma, a passionate young fiddler separated from her abusive husband and estranged from her gospel-singing parents. But the past concerns him, too: given a box of his beloved mother's possessions, he pieces together her troubled history, while his great-uncle pieces a quilt from her clothing. Violence is inescapable in a place where even Clay carries a pretty pearl-handled pistol, and his mother's violent end foreshadows a death that threatens Clay and Alma's happiness together. The Kentucky landscape is suffused with nostalgia, snow making one character yearn for the past, lonesome autumn unlocking memory's vaults. Deftly written, replete with wisdom and remarkably light on sentimentality, this lovely novel makes plain the value of family and the preciousness of familiar ground. Author tour. (Mar. 30) Forecast: Healthy regional sales are indicated for this title; handselling will help. Strong reviews in national publications should move a few copies, too. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Kentucky author's plaintive debut tells the story of coal miner Clay Sizemore's efforts to understand and possess his own history, shattered when he was a three-year-old present at his own mother's murder. The novel segues between Clay's relationships with loving kinfolk and his growing affection for Alma Asher, the divorced woman he hopefully marries-its separate fragments intended to cohere into a "quilt" (of sorts) that will clarify the pattern of Clay's life. This is Wendell Berry territory, and House doesn't really take us anywhere we haven't already been-but his secondary characters (such as Clay's hell-raising cousin Cake and his gentle, visionary Aunt Easter) are lively and likable. And there are some stunningly beautiful moments (e.g., "When the lightning flashed, he imagined he could see all of the dead people he had ever known of, standing in line down the road"). An appealing and promising debut. Author tour

From the Publisher
“Compelling . . . Despite hardships, again and again the family and the land assert their claim on these characters, and on the reader. . . . House knows what’s important and reminds us of the values of family and home, love and loyalty.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Here is life in the hills as we enter the twenty-first century–the love of the land, the fierce loyalty to family, the church, substance abuse, and violence. . . . Silas House writes from deep within the culture and presents his world without apology or gloss.”
–CHRIS OFFUTT

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616202972
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
04/01/2001
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
170,620
File size:
4 MB

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

They were in a car going over Buffalo Mountain, but the man driving was not Clay's father. The man was hunched over the steering wheel, peering out the frosted window with hard, gray eyes. The muscle in his jaw never relaxed, and he seemed to have an extra, square-shaped bone on the side of his face.

"No way we'll make it without getting killed," the man said. His lips were thin and white.

"We ain't got no choice but to try now," Clay's mother,

Anneth, said. "We can't pull over and just set on the side of the road until it thaws."

Clay listened to the tires crunching through the snow and ice as they moved slowly on the winding road. It sounded as if they were driving on a highway made of broken glass. On one side of the road there rose a wall of cliffs, and on the other side was a wooden guardrail. It looked like the world dropped off after that.

They met a sharp curve and the steering wheel spun around in the man's hands. His elbows went high into the air as he tried to straighten the car. The two women in the back cried out "Oh Lord!" in unison as one was thrown atop the other to one side of the car. Anneth pressed her slender fingers deep into Clay's arms, and he wanted to scream, but then the car was righted on course. The man looked at Anneth as if it were her fault.

The women in the back had been carrying on all the way up the mountain, and now they laughed wildly at themselves for being scared. They acted like going over the crooked, ice-covered highway was the best time they had had in ages, and the man kept telling them to shut up. It seemed they lit one cigarette after another, so many that Clay couldn't tell if the mist swirling around in the cab of the car was from their smoking or their breathing.

The heater in the little car didn't work, and when one of the women hollered to the man to give it another try, the vents rattled and coughed, pushing out a chilling breeze. Clay could see his own

Meet the Author

Silas House is the author of Clay's Quilt and A Parchment of Leaves. He is the recipient of the Kentucky Book of the Year Award and the James Still Award, from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. A Parchment of Leaves was a Book Sense Top Ten pick and a citywide reader's pick in four cities. A graduate of Spalding University, with an M.F.A. in writing, House lives with his wife and two daughters in Eastern Kentucky.

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