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book cover of Garner


A novel by

"An elegant, luminous, moving work of lyric prose. Every page shimmers." - Carole Maso

"Fiercely imagined, alive with incandescent imagery, Kirstin Allio's Garner is a memorable debut." - John Burnham Schwartz

Landlocked, sail-shaped Garner, New Hampshire, is a town delineated by its Puritan ethics and its "Live Free or Die" mentality. Like the forbidding landscape of Wharton's Ethan Frome, this New England outpost keeps its secrets and shapes its inhabitants. Frances Giddens, a spirited, elusive girl born at the dawn of the twentieth century and now approaching womanhood, moves through the forests and rivers that mark Garner's borders as easily as she befriends its stoic residents.

In the summer of 1925, with Garner's economic prospects in decline, a group of wealthy New Yorkers descends on the Giddens farm for summer leisure. Even as Frances is drawn to the romance the newcomers represent, darker forces are unleashed. When her body is found in rain-swollen Blood Brook, this deeply private community begins to unravel.

Garner chronicles the mystery of Frances' sudden death and the demise of a picture-perfect New England town threatened by a new century. Allio's beautiful, atmospheric prose reveals the town's hidden history and the fierce longings locked in the hearts of its citizens. "Bounded by her trees was the new England," muses the postman and local historian. "It is said that if one had the gossamer soul of an angel and wings of an artist's weave, one might pass from Maine to Rhode Island, crown to green crown, and o'er New Hampshire . . . Tree to tree, one might travel . . ." But some may never leave.

Kirstin Allio has taught creative writing at Brown University and holds degrees from Brown and New York University. Born in Maine, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with her husband and sons. This is her first novel.


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Paperback Editions

September 2005 : USA Paperback

Title: Garner
Author(s): Kirstin Allio
ISBN: 1-56689-175-2 / 978-1-56689-175-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA