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His place is rural Kentucky, of which he writes a poignant story.The fictional setting is a small coal mining community called Free Creek.Author House allows the reader into his settings to taste, smell and feel that place where the story happens; and he builds characters that illuminate this strong sense of place.
The 1950s saw a mass exodus from the coalfields of Appalachia to cities in the North.
Mountain families and communities were torn apart or vanished when jobs disappeared.
It’s a “twofer.” First, Silas House generously demonstrates how to fictionalize a personal story for use in an essay, a short story, and a play.
As a bonus, you get his writing – his poetic use of language, his rich characters, and a beautiful Christmas story about the importance of connections.
Clay's Quilt is a 2001 novel by Silas House, first published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and reissued by Ballantine/Random House in 2003.
The book appeared briefly on the New York Times bestseller list and became a word-of-mouth sleeper hit, especially in the Southern United States.Clay has spent much of his life being defined by an event from his childhood, when he witnesses his mother's murder as a four-year-old during a terrible snowstorm.When he meets an attractive fiddler named Alma he decides that it is time to take control of his own story.The novel immediately established House as one of the leading writers of the Appalachian region.The book is still widely taught in high schools and universities."There is a cool that sometimes comes down over the mountains in the evening...peach light stands like steam along the horizon..seeps out of the jagged cliffs...creek slips over old rocks..." Time-honored themes of family loyalty, strength of religious experience and conviction, love and lust, substance abuse, and violence fill the novel's pages.House wastes few words in the development of his plot to its conclusion.Clay is comfortable with his life but he lives with indecision and is unable to move forward with his own plans, because questions about his mother and her life plague him.Orphaned at age four, his wish is to learn the truth about Anneth's murder. Clay's great-uncle's gift is his skill at quilting.His characters live and breathe in places that only they can inhabit.Although CLAY' S QUILT is a 20th century story, it could easily have taken place a century before.