Monday, June 22, 2015

Scoharie (for Schoharie)

Shawn Purcell describes his debut novel West Kill Creek* as a "contemplative work of post-apocalyptic fiction set in upstate New York." The blurb continues: "A particularly lethal virus has rapidly wiped out most of civilization. A hardy band of survivors does what it takes to stay alive, but the novel also reverberates with the echoes of local history and deep time, the beauty and terror of nature, the power and glory of books, current environmental and political issues, and actual events and places—such as Hurricane Irene, and the Gilboa Fossil Forest—and you couldn't have all that without some conflict and romance." West Kill Creek is a heady hybrid of sci-fi dystopia and Thoreauvian transcendentalism, chockabloack with literate takes on New York State—especially the storied and harried Schoharie County. "The driftwood along this stretch reminded Dar that Schoharie County was named after a corruption of the local Native American word for that, which went something like To-wos-scho-hor. It was said that this 'flood-wood' was tangled and piled up so high at one confluence in the Schoharie Creek, like a 'mausoleum of the forest sugar-tree, gnarled oak, and lofty pine,' that the natives who used the span as a bridge couldn't even see the water down through it..." Scoharie (see Schoharie) was seen twice in OhioLINK, and 27 times in WorldCat.

*Ordering details and sample first chapter at:

Full disclosure: Shawn is a long-time friend, colleague, and word nerd. I reviewed the manuscript for him, and found it to be rife with non-errors.

(Cover of West Kill Creek, courtesy of the author.)

Carol Reid

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