Set in a small Vermont town in the early decades of the twentieth century, Housewrights tells the story of Lily Willard, the town librarian, and her relationship with Oren and Ian Pritchard, housewrights who roam New England building houses for others though they themselves are homeless. Lily first meets the twins when they are children, and the boys arrive with their father to build Lily's family a new farmhouse. Ten years later, Oren returns for Lily. He asks her to marry him. She agrees, if he will settle down-for the first time in his life. Always lurking, though, is the question of Ian, off fighting the Great War. But when he returns, shell-shocked and wounded, Lily welcomes him into their home. Eyebrows are raised only silently at this unusual household, until one evening at the Grange Hall dance the three take a heady, impetuous waltz together-with practically the entire town watching.
Rich in detail and emotion, this unforgettable novel marks the debut of a singular storyteller who writes with extraordinary beauty, depth, and clarity.
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Art Corrveau has an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan and has held fellowships at Yaddo and MacDowell artist colonies. His stories have appeared in Story and American Short Fiction.From Publishers Weekly:
Corriveau concocts an unusual but convincing romantic triangle in his excellent first novel, which takes place in a Vermont village just after the turn of the 20th century. Lily Willard is the precocious, intelligent town librarian who meets her future husband, Oren Pritchard, as a young girl when nine-year-old Oren and his twin, Ian, visit Cabot Lodge while their father builds the Willards' house. The Pritchards quickly move on to the next job, but the handsome, determined Oren returns a decade later to claim Lily for his bride. Lily's vague misgivings about the match are compounded by Ian's return from WWI with a severe case of shell shock, and after Lily helps Ian recover and join her husband in his house-building business, she finds herself torn by her longings for her husband's twin. When those longings are expressed during a town dance, the trio find themselves shunned and isolated. The solution to their dilemma is an engineered courtship between Ian and Lucy's divorced best friend, Hallie, but when marriage follows, the controlling, domineering Hallie drives a wedge between the two brothers. The climax comes when Lily rescues the pregnant Hallie as she begins to miscarry, but Lily is punished for her good deed when Hallie accuses her of killing the stillborn baby. Corriveau is a smooth, evocative writer who creates engaging if somewhat odd characters, although some of the courtship sequences and sexual conflicts seem a bit modern for the setting and the era. He resists the temptation to go over the top with the erotic possibilities involving Lily and the twins, focusing on the intriguing story line to create an accomplished, thought-provoking debut.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Penguin (Non-Classics), 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 2002 - First Edition,First Printing. 192 Pages. Book is in excellent condition. Trade Paperback. 2002-06-25. Bookseller Inventory # SKU-6105035
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