Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England

Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England

by Brock Clarke
3.4 27

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Overview

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

A lot of remarkable things have happened in the life of Sam Pulsifer, the hapless hero of this incendiary novel, beginning with the ten years he spent in prison for accidentally burning down Emily Dickinson's house and unwittingly killing two people. emerging at age twenty-eight, he creates a new life and identity as a husband and father. But when the homes of other famous New England writers suddenly go up in smoke, he must prove his innocence by uncovering the identity of this literary-minded arsonist.

In the league of such contemporary classics as A Confederacy of Dunces and The World According to Garp, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England is an utterly original story about truth and honesty, life and the imagination.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780099532965
Publisher: Windmill
Publication date: 04/28/2009

About the Author

Brock Clarke is the author of two previous story collections and four novels, most recently The Happiest People in the World, Exley (named a Kirkus Book of the Year), and An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England (a national bestseller). He lives in Portland, Maine, and teaches creative writing at Bowdoin College. 

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Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was not totally horrible but I just wanted it over. The main character is an idiot that just plays the victim and resigns himself to that. There's no climax, no epiphany. You keep waiting the whole time for him to actually DO something. I won't be rushing to read anything else from this writer. Definitely disappointing.
LucySkyDiamonds More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to reading this book, but after the first few chapters I found it rather boring and very predictable. The characters were all a bit sad and passive, and I couldn't really relate or sympathize with them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have actually stopped reading 1/3 of way through because it was so slow!
RussBurlingame More than 1 year ago
It's interesting--one of the customer reviews on Barnes & Noble's site complained that while they were drawn into the novel and enjoyed the story, they disliked the characters, and particularly protagonist Sam Pulsifer. That was one of the great draws for me. Like David Lapham's "Young Liars" series of graphic novels, toying with the notion that the narrator is bad, unlikable, unreliable, and possibly lying through his teeth is one of my favorite elements of the story. To be honest, there is a point early in AN ARSONIST'S GUIDE where Pulsifer is explaining for the reader--without rationalization or justification, simply trying to put the reader in his headspace--why it is that he'd lied to the people he loved for years, and then continued to lie and pile lies on top of lies until they simply couldn't trust him anymore. His reasoning--while flawed beyond belief--is the same I've found myself applying in the past when acting in just such a way. This book holds up a mirror to my least favorite aspect of myself, my past, my personal humiliations and my insecurities. Pulsifer is a character I don't particularly like--but I relate to him on a very personal level. And honestly, that's what a lot of the novel is about. Pulsifer, as well as a number of the characters he interacts with, have literary characters just like that. He, his mother, the folks who write him to ask for help--they all have characters they see themselves in, or that they want to avoid becoming, or that they can't escape from. It's this reality, whether you like the characters or not, that really makes the novel pop. Not to mention, of course, the cleverly flippant language, the engaging plot, the constant hope that things will turn around and the way that, like most great mysteries, something that's clearly not right at the start pays off down the road--not in the way you'd expect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book itself does not deliver on the promise of the title. The writer presents an interesting premise, but the main character has so little regard for himself, cares so little for what happens to him, that I wondered why should I, the reader, care what happens? I read it for a book club; would not have finished it otherwise. I would not recommend it to anybody I like.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!
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I enjoyed reading the book but di not like the characters. I especially did not6 like the protagonist. I enjoyed the satire/spoof of the subject matter and I did want to read to the end to find out how it all turned out. A worthy read but nothing special.
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Midge More than 1 year ago
insightful and funny
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not a book for anyone who reads to escape life's difficulties--a need I can sometimes relate to. This is a book that explores pain and tragedy, and the almost pinball effect one accident can have on numerous lives. The writing is truthful, beautiful, and often laugh-aloud funny. I dare you to resist turning to your neighbor with an impromptu recital of a passage or two. If you've ever asked yourself 'What does a traumatic event like THAT to do a person?' then you will not only understand the point of this novel, you'll want to give it a compassionate hug once you reach the end. Sam Pulsifer may be lost, but I'm not so sure he's a bumbler after all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was full of twists and turns and i enjoyed it from beginning to end. i recommend this to everyone.