"[A] stunning debut....[E]ven with the dark tones of death and lunacy, Ray finds comic moments, mainly in the dialogue, and holds nothing sacred when it comes time for a well-deserved laugh....Ray is a talent to watch." (starred review)
From the Publisher
In this dark and remarkable debut, Brian Ray shows how a pair of adolescent artists in South Carolina uses their work to try to purge themselves of the demons they've collected. Seeking remission from her psychotic mother, Sarah West runs off to spend a summer working in her estranged father's steel mill, but she is soon shattered by the news of her mother's death. Sarah finds some solace with a troubled delinquent named Edgewood, and the two begin to use their angst as fuel for their separate artistic endeavors. Ray's intricate descriptions of Sarah and Edgewood's artwork are precise and disturbing, which in turn deepens the clarity and intrigue of these two compelling characters.
Sarah West takes a temporary job at her father's South Carolina steel mill the summer before college, hoping for relief from the chaos of a psychotic and often institutionalized mother. But from the first day of June to the waning days of August, relief is the last thing Sarah finds. Soon after moving to her father's house - more like an industrial museum than a home - tragic news about her mother arrives.|The haunting funeral coincides with Sarah's first love affair with a fellow mill worker, a teen-aged vigilante muralist named Edgewood who lives in an abandoned jail on the outskirts of town. Sarah and Edgewood share artistic gifts, but both hesitate at the door between adolescence and adulthood. While Edgewood struggles to develop confidence in his work, Sarah finds her own artistic endeavors haunted by grim yet compelling memories of growing up under the rule of an inexplicably deranged artist on one side and an oddly aloof, workaholic entrepreneur on the other.|Confronted with danger and death at the mill, mortality confronts Sarah and Edgewood from every angle and buries deep in their artwork. As their relationship deepens, Edgewood helps Sarah overcome the loss of her mother. In the end, however, Sarah will face a greater challenge: domesticating her own emerging inner demons while tending to first lover's uncertainty in himself.