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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Clearcut|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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Earley Ritter hunched over the steering wheel, dreaming of heat. He was heading for Bogachiel campground, his jeans pocket stuffed full of dimes for the shower. He'd been shake-ratting up in Suhammish all week, and the thought of hot water was next door to sex. His skin had a serious craving for one or the other. He thought about Margie, the woman he'd met at the Cedar Bar Lounge a few Fridays ago, and wondered if she might be there tonight.
The sky threw a couple of drops on his windshield and then really let go. Rain bounced off the tarmac in sheets. Earley turned on his one working headlight, a bright, and wished he'd remembered to pick up new wiper blades. Maybe tonight, if he found a few bucks in his toolkit or under the seat. He'd stop by the Texaco as soon as he got into town, see if someone would front him. But first he would treat himself to a long shower. Of course, with this goddamn monsoon, he could just about pull over, strip and soap down in the rain. If he had any soap.
A log truck slogged past, spraying wake. Earley reached into his Drum pouch, then remembered he'd smoked the last shreds of tobacco as he picked his way down from Suhammish Creek clearcut. He rounded a curve and his lone high beam caught someone huddled up sorry and limp on the roadside. The man was wearing an olive-drab poncho, his thumb sticking out like an afterthought.
Earley braked, his heart racing. I could have killed him, he thought. Dumb fuck doesn't even have enough sense to stand out on a straight stretch of road where somebody might see him. He might have a cigarette, though, and he was closer than town. Earley twisted the wheel an