"There is a wealth of brave wisdom in this novella. Putnam takes a social encounter and peels back its layers-through time, ancient longings, lingering dishonesties-until reaching unsettling but crucial insights. I love when a short book takes on the truly big issues of human experience, and Putnam's does so triumphantly here."
Robin Black author of Life Drawing and If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
"Seconds is sharp-eyed and wise. It is the perfect vessel for its story of art and tragedy and mis-centered love, of risk and payment due, of the flicker of darkness in us all."
Roy Kesey author of Pacazo and Any Deadly Thing
"In Seconds, Claudia Putnam gives us a deep, intimate look into the human heart, showing that quick decisions can have lifelong consequences. A beautiful, haunting tale of unrequited love and regret."
Scott Lasser author of Say Nice Things About Detroit and The Year That Follows,
"In Seconds, Claudia Putnam explores passion and the extremes that people-all people-will go to fulfill their desires, hurting the people they love and loving the people they hurt. She is pinpoint in her depictions of these humans she's created, sketching joy and tragedy like an old master."
Michael Czyzniejewski author of The Amnesiac in the Maze and I Will Love You For the Rest of My Life: Breakup Stories
"Through the eyes of Putnam's outsider narrator, Ethan Codding, the transgressive darkness just below the surface of New England propriety and privilege seethes, crackles. The story's ageing ensemble takes shape viscerally and quickly in this writer's hands, her cast reminding me of Kingsley Amis's delicately grotesque, flawed crews of wayward, older characters negotiating regret, loneliness, missed chances. Putnam's understated but tangled powerplays between art and money, development and conservation, empathy and obsession, power and trauma contend in an unquestionable New Hampshire landscape-a setting that is essential to our understanding of the human drama she manages so deftly in the novella's compressed space. The fraught aspirations and inheritances of Ivy League boomers, local law enforcement, equestrians, loggers, and academics make for a compelling stew. But, like John Casey's Rhode Island in Spartina, Seconds avoids caricature, evokes and respects the subtle diversity and quirks of a regional demographic, its veneer and underbelly. Codding's Western, inverted Carraway-esque perspective injects Seconds with remarkably brutal poignancy; the author's conjuring of his brooding about the artist Anna Halloran-the mental and emotional gymnastics of male self-awareness-is nothing short of brilliant."
Ralph Sneeden author of Evidence of the Journey and Surface Fugue