ISBN: 979-8-9886903-4-4 (Print)
$18 (Print); $9.99 (eBook)
About the Author
CARLA BRADSHER-FREDRICK grew up in Oklahoma, where she was
devoted to the equestrian sport of show jumping. After having
lived in France and Turkey, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from
Grinnell College and earned an MA in art history from the
University of Michigan. There, she also fulfilled the requirements for a PhD in art history except for the writing of a dissertation. She and her husband lived for many years in Saudi Arabia and in Arlington, Virginia, before moving to the Portland, Oregon area. Hands and Straight Lines is her first book.
Hands and Straight Lines
In an unspecified time and place in America, teenaged Edward Rawlinson paints watercolors, watches his older brother Burke romance pretty, horse-riding Christine, and retreats into his visual adoration of bicycle reflectors, Victorian picture frames, linen tablecloths, and heftily built men. As Ed matures, his ability to lose himself in the sensual, fractalesque aspects of everyday life —including hazelnuts, antique fans, and doorbells—will lead him to a happy, tender relationship and life of security with Lawrence, an aging professor, but also to an avoidant, labyrinthine relationship with the practical world of “straight lines.” With its strange, slow-paced portrait of a young man quietly determined to engage with society on his own terms, Hands and Straight Lines creates a calm yet unsettling zone of ambivalence that reconfigures the traditional bildungsroman into a mysterious meditation on adulthood and the good life.
Advance Acclaim for Hands and Straight Lines
"Bradsher-Fredrick has created a novel the way artists create collages, mosaics, and still lifes, combining small, mercurial moments to create an overall impression and arc."
-- Kirkus Reviews
“A fascinating novel that coagulates in detailed dosages, segments or short chapters, which reflect real time along with past experiences, and on occasion project into the future, thus bending the restrictions of linear time even as the overall structure of the story assumes chronology, as in the life of Edward, protagonist and first-person narrator. Precise prose of a steady narrative voice anchors a reality that sometimes slips into mysterious sensuality where exterior and interior worlds meld. For those liking Kazuo Ishiguro’s fiction, here’s a book that’ll appeal.” -- Michael Onofrey, author of Bewilderment and Sightseeing
“A near-perfect synthesis of Gertrude Stein’s Food and Stephen Dixon’s End of I., Carla Bradsher-Fredrick’s debut novel is an encyclopedia of obsessive poetry and exacting analysis, a vivid in-gathering of all the brilliant and aching fragments that come to define a single human life. A truly gorgeous novel.” -- Douglas Milliken, author of Blue of the World
“Carla Bradsher-Fredrick is a writer’s writer, recalling Faulkner, D.H. Lawrence, or Virginia Wolf . . . I felt my norms shiver some with voyeuristic power, assessing. A fair-minded reader will emerge with cultured awareness, maybe self-knowledge and empathy, all the while relishing [her] perfect language.” -- Paul Nelson, author of Refrigerator Church
"Hands and Straight Lines is a reflective novel that finds meaning and connection in small details." -- Foreword Clarion Reviews