Set in the gloriously rugged backwoods of the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s, Nina Shengold’s gripping debut novel follows three people in search of new lives deep into uncharted terrain of the body and heart.
When rough-hewn loner Earley Ritter picks up a hitchhiker one rainy night, he can’t imagine how much it will change his life. A "shake-rat" who salvages cedar stumps left when loggers clearcut, Earley seems to have little in common with Reed Alton, a gifted Berkeley dropout. But when Earley meets Zan, the fiery and mysterious woman Reed has been following, erotic sparks fly in unexpected directions. Thrown together in the splendid isolation of the woods, with passions and tensions mounting, the unlikely trio achieves a fragile balance that–like their idyllic patch of forest–will be shattered by violence. At once a page-turning psychological drama and a colorful, wildly comic recreation of a lost time and place, Clearcut explores the boundaries that divide us, and what it takes to cross them.
About the Author
Eric Lane and Nina Shengold are editors of twelve contemporary play collections. Their other titles for Vintage Books include "Plays for Actresses, Leading Women: Plays for Actresses II, Take Ten: New Ten-Minute Plays, Take Ten II: More Ten-Minute Plays, Under Thirty: Plays for a New Generation, "and "Talk to Me: Monologue Plays. "For Viking Penguin, they edited "The Actor's Book of Contemporary Stage Monologues, The Actor's Book of Scenes from New Plays, Moving Parts: Monologues from Contemporary Plays, The Actor's Book of Gay and Lesbian Plays "(Lambda Literary Award nominee), and "Telling Tales: New One-Act Plays."
Nina Shengold received the ABC Playwright Award and the L.A. Weekly Award for "Homesteaders, "published by Samuel French. Her "Romeo/Juliet," a five-actor adaptation of Shakespeare's play, is published by Broadway Play Publishing. Her ten-minute plays have been performed at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and dozens of other theaters. Ms. Shengold won the Writers Guild Award and a GLAAD Award nomination for her teleplay "Labor of Love, "starring Marcia Gay Harden; other screenplays include "Blind Spot, "with Joanne Woodward and Laura Linney, "Unwed Father, Double Platinum, "and a flm adaptation of Jane Smiley's "Good Will. "She is artistic director of the upstate New York theater company Actor's & Writers. Her first novel, "Clearcut, "was published by Anchor Books.
Eric Lane is an award-winning playwright and filmmaker. Plays include "Heart of the City, Times of War, Shellac, Cater-Waiter, "and "Dancing on Checkers' Grave, "which starred Jennifer Aniston. Mr. Lane has written and produced two short filims: "First Breath "and "Cater-Waiter. "For his work on TV's"Ryan's Hope, "he received a Writers Guild Award. Honors include the Berrilla Kerr Playwrighting Award, La Mama Playwright Development Award, numerous Yaddo fellowships, and a St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity fellowship in Malta. Mr. Lane is an honors graduate of Brown University, and is artistic director of Orange Thoughts Productions, a not-for-profit theater and film company in New York City.
"A stunning book, one of the best literary novels I have come across in a long time. Shengold's prose is fluent like a river, and her characters are as sharp as knives in this beautiful love story." --Da Chen, author of Colors of the Mountain
"A beautiful, romantic, alive book. Clearcut is the patchouli and reckless love of the ‘70s, the rugged beauty and wreckage of the Pacific Northwest forests, woven together with a storyteller's grace and the great grand character of Earley Ritter, with whom every reader will fall in love.” —Amy Bloom, author of Love Invents Us
“Shengold captures the sorrow and loss that are the constant companions of bliss.” –Rebecca Stowe, author of The Shadow of Desire