Announcing Clifton Snider's Novel
Now available from Xlibris Corporation,
Amazon.com, and other online venues
Available in paperback and hardcover editions, 265 pages.
Now also available as an eBook.
Click on the URLs above for more information.
Jacket design by Kori Klyman
Cover art, Autumn Tulips, by Trent Edward, illustrator of Snider's Edwin: A Character in Poems
Author photograph by Edward Espinosa
In ONE Institute's International
Gay & Lesbian Review, published at the University of
Southern California, the renowned scholar, poet, and cleric,
founder of Integrity, Louie Crew writes:
found Bare Roots quite refreshing. Snider writes with a
lean style that is as unpretentious as Justin,
the main character. The book is very accessible and engaging. . . . Justin is not snide and sophisticated
in the fashion of Holden Caufield; nor is he neurotic. . . . While he does not miss out on the isolation
and the pain of growing up gay, he keeps level through far more than I did. It is only at the end
of the book that one realizes the huge price that he is paying emotionally.
To read the entire review, click on the title above.
Bare Roots is a coming of age novel about a sensitive, intelligent boy, Justin Crystal. Born in Wisconsin, Justin grows up from age seven in Southern California, an only child of divorced parents. When he goes away to a fundamentalist college, he discovers who he is through a passionate but ultimately futile love affair with his roommate, Russ. What the novel reveals are the roots of a young life, as it were, laid bare.
Set in the 1960s and 70s, Bare Roots is a coming of age/coming out novel about a sensitive, intelligent boy, Justin Crystal, up to the age of nineteen. Justin's whole life is a cycle of anticipation, fulfillment and disappointment, joy and agony, as he struggles to find out and accept who he is.
When Justin is seven, his father asks his mother, Harriet, for a divorce. Not long afterwards, Justin and Harriet move from Wisconsin to Southern California, where Justin is surrounded by adult women: his mother, his grandmother, and his grandaunt. Eventually mother and son move to Long Beach, where Harriet has a job and meets Gerald, also divorced, whom she marries after dating a long time. Although Gerald becomes Justin's stepfather, Gerald never accepts the role of father for Justin.
Throughout his life, Justin has a series of close male friends, from whom he is separated for one reason or another. With each of these friends he shares a private world, but as an only child, he learns to live in his own fantasy world, reading books, listening to records, particularly the Beatles, and playing the piano. Fundamentalist Christian religion becomes an important influence. It provides a few social outlets and a Biblical education, but also it creates a lot of guilt, frustration, and confusion, especially about sex.
Justin vacillates between desires for both sexes, but when he moves away to Southern California Baptist College, in San Diego, he has a passionate but chaotic affair with his roommate, Russ. Despite their intense relationship and potentially destructive environment, they are lovers throughout the school year till both are injured in a motorcycle accident. While he is in the hospital, Justin discovers Russ has apparently taken up with another young man. When he returns to his Long Beach home, Justin attempts suicide while his mother is in the hospital having a baby.
The events of the novel are those Justin imagines as he swallows sleeping pills and Valium. While characters' thoughts are freely given, especially those of Justin and Harriet, the reader never knows for sure if these are the actual thoughts or only those Justin, or the narrator, imagines. The novel reveals the roots of a young life, as it were, laid bare and, like roses planted with bare roots, ready to grow.
Clifton Snider was born in Duluth, Minnesota. A "P.K." (Preacher's Kid), he moved around a lot as a boy, living in Illinois and Indiana before settling in Southern California. He is the author of nine highly-praised books of poetry, including Blood & Bones (Applezaba Press, 1988), Impervious to Piranhas (Academic and Arts Press, 1989), The Age of the Mother (Laughing Coyote, 1992), The Alchemy of Opposites, and Aspens in the Wind (both Chiron Review Press, 2000 and 2009). His poetry has been published in such journals as Blue Mesa Review, Bogg, Chiron Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pearl, Poetry/LA, and Rolling Stone. Twice he has won the "In the Spotlight" award (for January 1999 and September-October 1999) from The Poetry Page, published on the World Wide Web. His fiction and reviews have appeared in numerous journals, including The Mt. Aukum Review, The Advocate, the Long Beach Press-Telegram, and the Los Angeles Times. His novel about the bisexual leader of an 80s Southern California rock band, Loud Whisper, was published in 2000 by Xlibris. A specialist in Jungian analysis of literature, he has published articles on Merlin in Victorian poetry, A. C. Swinburne, Edward Lear, Virginia Woolf, Carson McCullers, W. H. Auden, Oscar Wilde, Emily Dickinson, and Brokeback Mountain. His book, The Stuff That Dreams Are Made On: A Jungian Interpretation of Literature, was published by Chiron Publications in March, 1991. His fourth novel and first historical novel, The Plymouth Papers, was published by Spout Hill Press in 2014. Snider has been awarded resident fellowships at Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY); The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico (Taos); and The Michael Karolyi Foundation (Vence, France).
He earned his Ph.D. in English literature from the University of New Mexico. A political activist, he is a former officer in the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club. He lives in a California Mission style house in Long Beach, California. He taught in the English Department at California State University, Long Beach, until June 2009.
Bare Roots is the first of three novels Snider wrote in the 1980s. He has completely rewritten it for publication by Xlibris.
Also available from Xlibris are Snider's Wrestling with Angels: A Tale of Two Brothers and Loud Whisper.
--Copyright © Clifton Snider, 20116 All rights reserved.