From the award-winning author of The Coming Storm comes the brilliantly conceived and precisely rendered novel The Salt Point, which explores the lives of four people-Anatole, Leigh, Chris, and Lydia-and their intermingled and unwinding desires. Set in a Poughkeepsie mall, the Main Street to a new generation, the novel follows these characters as they achieve their oddly triumphant lives redolent with loss and hope, humor and sadness, union and alienation. As promises are diminished and futures are abandoned, all four are hurtled toward that place in which everything is transmuted-the salt point.
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The salt point is the place in the Hudson where the river changes from fresh to salt water. "It's always changing," says Chris, one of the three friends whose shifting affections are recounted in this subtle and accomplished novel. "You can't exactly fix it, but it's there, a point. But it's never the same." Set in Poughkeepsie, New York, in the 1980s (this St. Martin's volume is a much-welcome reprint of the 1990 Dutton edition), The Salt Point follows Chris, Lydia, and Anatole through the crisis that results from Anatole's discovery of a beautiful fair-haired youth that he dubs "Our Boy of the Mall." At first, it is Anatole who falls for Leigh, offering him a place to stay for a while, and respecting the young man's wish not to talk about himself, and not to be touched. But soon Leigh makes himself available to Lydia, as well, permitting her sex without the intimacy he enjoys with Anatole. While the friendship had once centered on Chris, the aloof and ironic focus of both Anatole and Lydia's longing, he now watches warily as his friends battle for the elusive Leigh. When Leigh shows up unexpectedly at Chris's music store, all Chris's good intentions, and his talent for withdrawal, come into question. Paul Russell, better known for The Coming Storm, moves with ease between his characters, alert to every nuance of their conflicting loves and loyalties. --Regina MarlerAbout the Author:
Paul Russell is the author of three previous novels―The Salt Point, Boys of Life, and Sea of Tranquillity―as well as The Gay 100, a work of non-fiction. He is Professor of English at Vassar College and lives in upstate New York.
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