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book cover of Van Ripplewink

Van Ripplewink

You Can't go Home Again
A novel by

KIRKUS REVIEWS: Clayton... updates the story of Rip Van Winkle in this social novel. In 2015, a backhoe at a construction site in Philadelphia unearths a coffin containing the long-slumbering Van Ripplewink, who went into the ground at age 17... Van attempts to make sense of the new world in which he finds himself. The only problem is that it doesn't make that much sense to anyone else: in post-Ferguson America, racial tensions are high... Clayton uses the character of Van, with his outsider naivete, to look into the complex issues surrounding race and justice in America... A serious novel with an amusing premise.

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEWS: Van Ripplewink is a book of complex characters... a fascinating look into what the world has become in less than fifty years. The story is good; the view of the world from its perspective is stark and disturbing reality. 5-Stars

48 years dead, seventeen year old Van Ripplewink wakes in a dark, muddy field... His confusion turns to alarm; everything has changed -- the cars, the buildings, and the people. He heads home and finds his parents gone and strangers living in his house. Attacked by a violent Philly street gang, Van is rescued by Charles Davis, a kindly black man. Charles finds Van's story bizarre, but trusts him and puts him up for the night. It is there that Van meets the most beautiful girl he's ever seen, Mignon, Charles's bi-racial niece. Charles tries to help Van, but he has his own problem, namely his girlfriend, Valerie. Charles longs to marry her, but Valerie is already wedded to the welfare system and will not move in with him for fear of losing her benefits.

Van winds up living in a homeless camp where he meets Honest John, a violent, but brilliant, alcoholic computer programmer. Alternating between the tutelage of Charles Davis and Honest John on the mores and unrest of 21st Century America, Van goes to college and finds racial turmoil and revolution in the air.

Finding his bliss writing for the school newspaper, Van spends time with Mignon and her crowd. They're fun and attractive, but strange, not seeming to have any moral center. He longs to be a part of the group, but that would mean jettisoning the values of his upbringing and time? Can he do it?

Mainstream/literary fiction (with a hint of fantasy) in the style of Bonfire of the Vanities.


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Used availability for Paul Clayton's Van Ripplewink

Paperback Editions

July 2016 : Paperback

Title: Van Ripplewink: You Can't Go Home Again
Author(s): Paul Clayton
ISBN: 1-5347-4377-4 / 978-1-5347-4377-9
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

July 2016 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: Van Ripplewink: You Can't Go Home Again
Author(s): Paul Clayton
Publisher: Paul Clayton
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA