Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Peculiar Grace

Very happy to say that a novel I've been waiting for is now tangibly set for publication this summer. Jeffrey Lent, author of In the Fall and Lost Nation, has a new one coming out in August. It's called A Peculiar Grace, and here's what the publisher is saying about it:

An unforgettable tale of love, family secrets, and the hold of the past in a family of New England artists, A Peculiar Grace is the latest triumph from the author of In the Fall, hailed by The Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times as one of the best books of the year. Hewitt Pearce lives alone in his family home, producing custom ironwork and safeguarding a small collection of art his late father left behind. When Jessica, a troubled young vagabond, washes up in his backwoods one morning, Hewitt's hermetic existence is challenged. As he gradually uncovers Jessica’s secrets and reestablishes contact with a woman he thought he had lost twenty years before, Hewitt must confront his own dark history and rediscover how much he craves human connection. A Peculiar Grace is a remarkable achievement by one of our finest authors, an insightful portrait of family secrets, and a rich tapestry filled with characters who have learned to survive by giving shape to their losses.

Knowing Jeffrey's writing this sounds great to me. Keep an eye out for this one. Or, better yet, go to Amazon and just order it now.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lent is one of my favorite authors.

back in 2005, a novel called "War Gardens" was supposed to be published. over 600 pages. i wonder what happened to that one and why this one is being published instead.

6:57 PM  
Blogger James McLauchlan Johnston said...

A new Jeffrey Lent novel is definitely exciting. Beth gave me a copy of William Gay's 'Twilight' and I brought it with me to India to devour when I end up on my own. I couldn't help starting it on a long ferry ride and read the 1st 40 or 50 pages. It's gothic to the extreme. Laughton said he couldn't finish it but I have a feeling it could be the exact kind of writing I love. Soon I wil be heading to Rishikesh on another mammoth bus journey, with Gay in front and Thomas Fraser coming through the earphones I could be a long way from reality.

1:41 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hey Jamie and anonymous,

Interesting and heartening to imagine one's books being read in such farflung destinations. I hadn't thought of this in a while, but I've certainly read memorable novels while traveling, works that had nothing to do with the world outside the bus window. Stay safe, by the way.

And as for what happened to "War Gardens" I'd just say that the path of a book into existence can be a long and winding one in many ways. I know that doesn't answer much, but do know that Jeffrey is happy with "A Peculiar Grace" and he's on track to deliver yet another novel soon.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


thanks for posting this. Lent is an amazing author and I'm very excited to learn he's got a new book coming out. The excerpt reads beautifully.

James, so glad to hear somebody else has discovered William Gay. I've devoured everything Gay has written and just recently inhaled TWILIGHT and then started all over again with THE LONG HOME, Gay is a special writer.


3:12 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hey Drew,

Thanks for writing. I agree about William Gay. He's a helluva writer and quite a character personally also. Since we're talking writers with a Southern lean to them (which even Jeffrey has, although it's a Vermont variety of Southern) I'll mention Tom Franklin. Have you read Poachers or Hell At The Breech? Both great books.


6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey David,

Yeah, I'm a fan of Tom Franklin too. Although I liked BREECH better than SMONK. Had a hard time getting into the latter.

I actually stumbled across your first book while digging around for southern lit.

And, yeah, talking southern lit, hard not to mention Ron Rash or Larry Brown. And, your friend Ravi, his new book looks good.

And, David, I have the Mississippi Public Broadcasting event with you and Jeffrey Lent on order. Just watched the one with Ron Rash, Gay, and Barry Hannah.

Happy writing.


9:05 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Thanks for dropping little notes all around the blogs. I appreciate that.

Okay, so you're obviously well-versed in Southern literature. For my money, that indicates that you're a quality reader, as an awful lot of good stuff continues to be published by Southern writers. I don't think it often gets the attention it deserves, though, with our NY based industry.

Thanks for taking a look at the Writers series on Mississippi Public TV. Funny that you mention the show with Ron Rash, William Gay and Barry Hannah. I had the same show up in my mailbox, a present from the station. Very good folks down there, and all the shows I've seen have been fun, smart and casual all at the same time. The one I'm in with Jeffrey also has Edward P Jones. I don't know how it'll be to watch, but it was good time as far as I was concerned.

Oh, one more writer from Mississippi to mention - have you read Steve Yarbrough? He's also a friend, but before that I admired his writing greatly. Prisoners of War, Visible Spirits, Oxygen Man, and his new one, The End of California... All worth a read.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to talk about Southern writers of historical fiction, you've got to add Howard Bahr to the discussion. "The Black Flower" is perhaps the finest and most human novel of the Civil War ever written. The follow-up, "Year of Jubilo," isn't far behind it.

To return to Jeffrey Lent, he is a fabulous writer. When I read "In the Fall," I didn't want it to end. "Lost Nation" was much the same. But "War Gardens" ... THAT'S the book I really want to read.

8:27 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

I just picked up a copy of "Year of Jubilo" a couple weeks back. Don't know when I'll be able to read it. My focus is decidely on other things right now, but I still can't help picking up books that I want to read, even if I know I won't get to them anytime soon. Thanks for the recommendation, though. It'll help keep Bahr's work on my wishlist.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Year of Jubilo can be read on its own, but it will have more impact if you read The Black Flower first. One of the characters in TBF makes an appearance in Year of Jubilo, maybe as part of a dream, maybe as a ghost -- Bahr is deliberately vague on that point. It's not essential, but you'll get more from YoJ if you read TBF first.

11:23 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Okay, okay... another book to add to the pile. I'll keep an eye out for "The Black Flower".

11:58 AM  

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