OUR OTHER CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOK, “TELL ME A STORY, TELL ME THE TRUTH,” BY GINA ROITMAN, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.
THE BOOK: “The Shark Curtain”
PUBLISHED IN: April 2015
THE AUTHOR: Chris Scofield
THE EDITOR: JL Powers.
THE PUBLISHER: Akashic Books (Black Sheep, YA), Brooklyn.
SUMMARY: It’s written rather episodically, and not conventionally plotted which suits our heroine Lily Asher. Here’s my synopsis from www.powells.com:
Set against the changing terrain of middle-class values and the siren calls of art and puberty, The Shark Curtain invites us into Lily Asher’s wonderful, terrible world. The older of two girls growing up in suburban Portland, Oregon, in the mid-1960s, her inner life stands in quirky contrast to the loving but dysfunctional world around her.
Often misunderstood by her flawed but well-intentioned parents, teenage Lily orbits their tumultuous love affair, embracing what embraces her back: the ghost of her drowned dog, a lost aunt, numbers, shoe boxes, werewolves, rituals, and stories she pens herself (including one about a miscarried sibling she dubs “Frog Boy”). With “regular” visits from a wisecracking Jesus, an affectionate but combative friendship is born—a friendship that strains Lily’s grasp of reality as much as her patience.
From the violence of a peeping tom and catching Mom in flagrante delicto with the neighbor to jungles in her closet, butlers under her bed, and barking in public, Lily struggles to balance her family’s expectations with the visions that continue to isolate her.
Dark, funny, and thoughtful, Chris Scofield’s debut novel, The Shark Curtain, details thirteen-to-sixteen-year-old Lily’s first steps on her strange but loving journey to self-acceptance and belonging.
BACK STORY: This is from my blog interview with “Literary Ashland”: “I worked on SHARK, on and off, for years; I wrote short stories and started other novels when I wasn’t working on it . . . How did it come about? Inspiration, for me anyway, is two-thirds daydream, one-third memoir. After a while, your stories have lives of their own and SHARK was particularly tenacious.”
WHY THIS TITLE?: It’s a metaphor that runs throughout the book. It’s set up in the first chapter when our heroine watches a TV show where a scuba diver confronts a shark underwater. The “shark curtain” is where blurry water becomes clear and the danger (or lack of) is realized. It’s where the unknown and reality meet, where reality finally asserts itself.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? They might be attracted by the cover (thanks, Will Amato), blurbs, reviews. Ditto the synopsis on the back of the book.
“Brilliant, engaging, engulfing, fulfilling, beautiful. The Shark Curtain will turn you inside out and make you see the world differently. As well you should. As well we all should. Because life isn’t about having the answers, it’s about grappling with the questions. Chris Scofield’s fantastically fantastic novel pins the tail on the donkey with a pneumatic nail gun–I absolutely insist that you read this book!”
—Garth Stein, New York Times best-selling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
“Dynamic…[Protagonist Lily Asher] comes to glorious, heartbreaking, embraceable, vibrant life courtesy of the experiences, heart and immense imagination and talent of Eugene author Chris Scofield.”
“Chris Scofield has written a young adult novel that doesn’t compromise integrity for trendiness….It’s complex and quirky…there can be no doubt as to its uniqueness.”
“Those who prefer edgy period fiction with truly original characters will be fascinated by this glimpse into the mind of an unmedicated non-neurotypical teen struggling to come of age in the ’60s.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
AUTHOR PROFILE: Chris Scofield is a freelance novelist and published short story writer. A former special education teacher, she also taught art and preschool and worked as a children’s librarian, silk screener, secretary, fry cook, taco peddler, hot tub salesman, Bluebird leader, artists model, and ACLU jail liaison. Chris studied with authors Ursula Le Guin and Tom Spanbauer, won the Lane Literary Award (for her short story “Old Fucker LaVert”), and was published in Pacifica, Hot Air Quarterly, and the women’s anthology Mexico: A Love Story (Seal Press). She lived in Boston, MA and on the coast of Oaxaca and travels extensively. Chris writes, studies the cello, and makes art in Eugene, Oregon where she lives with her husband and two goldfish.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: On Amazon.
LOCAL OUTLETS: “Local” for me is Eugene, Oregon where you can buy THE SHARK CURTAIN at Tsunami Books, Smith Family Bookstore, The Duck Store (UO), and Barnes & Noble. Possibly other stores too.
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Powell’s (Portland, Oregon), Annie Bloom’s Books (Portland, OR), Elliott Bay Books (Seattle), DIESEL, A Bookstore (Oakland, CA) and online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, and Akashic Books. SHARK has been seen in various independent bookstores around the country and even at Mall of America.
PRICE: Varies. $14 paperback.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: You can contact me on Facebook (scofield2363) or Twitter (ChrisScofield2) or my website (chrisscofieldauthor.com)