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book cover of In the Shape of a Man

In the Shape of a Man

A novel by

Rosemary's Baby meets Revolutionary Road...

On the border between the necropolis of Colma, home to over two million dead souls and 1,794 somewhat live ones -- and the gritty industrial working-class town of South City --

At 1015 Crestview, little seven-year-old Reynaldo cowers under the escalating abuse hurled by an adoptive mother who now sees him as a burden.

Allen, a workaholic Silicon Valley techie, seeks relief from domestic conflict by slipping away to sample the sweet brews at McCoy's, a mysterious pub and Hell's Angels hangout.

Up the street, young adults Rad and Tawny drift between the worlds of skateboarding and community activism, free love and commitment. Sampling Buddhism and squabbling with the relatives, they avoid thinking about the 15-foot Burmese python in their garage.

Does evil exist? Is it still with us? How would it manifest in modern life? This genre-bending novel of alienation and betrayal suggests that evil, as well as redemption, can come In the Shape of a Man.

Paul Clayton is the author of Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam , which was short listed for a 2001 Frankfurt eBook Award, along with works by Joyce Carol Oates and David McCullough.

"Society's ambivalence about the value of children, and personal responsibility, creates drama in two neighboring households. The haunting story of little adopted Reynaldo will send you running to hug your kids." -- Stephen Gallup, author of What About the Boy

REVIEW: From the opening scene on, IN THE SHAPE OF A MAN wraps a fog of dread around readers, pulling them into the misty depths of moral turpitude. Adopted as an infant, then later shunted aside after the birth of his sister, seven-year-old Reynaldo is at the epicenter of abuse from his mother Tina and benign neglect from father Allen. Through skilled juxtaposition of description, dialogue and narrative, author Paul Clayton does such an effective job of depicting family dysfunction, and the underlying evil forces, that the reader's heart just breaks for Reynaldo. One knows this child is doomed, but the who, what, where and how keep the pages turning.

Less compelling but also skillfully portrayed are a freewheeling young couple down the street, Tawny and Rad, the default caretakers of Ketsel, a 15-foot Burmese python who resides in their garage, a good faith deposit from a former roommate who never claims him. Tawny struggles with an unwanted pregnancy and Rad's infidelity while Ketsel has his own agenda. -- Judge, 2nd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published eBook Awards.

In 2015, In the Shape of a Man was selected as a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Awards. (Only ten percent of submitted books become finalists) The Hoffer Award was founded... to honor freethinking writers and independent books of exceptional merit. The commercial environment for today's writers has all but crushed the circulation of ideas ... Furthermore, many of the top literary prizes will not even consider independent books ... choosing instead to become the marketing arms of large presses. The "Hoffer"... books are chiefly from small, academic, and micro presses, including self-published offerings. Throughout the centuries, writers such as Emily Dickinson, James Joyce, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Wolfe have taken the path of self-publishing rather than have their ideas forced into a corporate or sociopolitical mold.


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Used availability for Paul Clayton's In the Shape of a Man

Paperback Editions

July 2013 : USA Paperback

Title: In the Shape of a Man
Author(s): Paul Clayton
ISBN: 1-4904-0942-4 / 978-1-4904-0942-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

July 2013 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: In the Shape of a Man
Author(s): Paul Clayton
Publisher: Paul Clayton
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA