ISBN: 9780997574265 (Print)
$14.00 (Print); $9.99 (eBook)
About the Author
PAUL NELSON was born near Boston of Norwegian and Finnish immigrants and was raised mostly in Maine. He attended Dartmouth College on an athletic scholarship and was an officer in the U.S. Navy for three years. After graduate work at Colgate University, he taught high school in Hawaii, and was a college teacher in Vermont, Indiana, and Colorado before becoming a Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing for Ohio University. He has published nine books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Days Off (University Press of Virginia, 1982 AWP Winner). He and his wife, the painter Judith Nelson, currently live, write and paint on the Olympic Peninsula, near the necessary ocean and in the northern light of their forebears.
Refrigerator Church: Stories
“I think of the pendulum swinging, disaster waiting . . . I seem to be the only one who thinks so. That our lives become fictions with the passage of each day.” Poet Paul Nelson’s fiction debut is the swirling, hyperkinetic portrait of the unspoken divide between two friends and neighbors from now-vanished worlds: Sam, an elderly sailor haunted by recurring images of a beautiful heiress rescued from the sea, and Tom, a daydreaming “back-to-the-lander,” rumored hippie and writer in 1970s Maine who watches the gradual disintegration of his marriage. Bridging the gulf between the two men, through twelve intricately interconnected stories and novellas, is a wild communal landscape populated by recluses, murderers, religious fundamentalists and free-spirited handymen—all of them inextricably caught in the overlapping webs of language, narrative and violence that dominate the deceptively simple rhythms of traditional coastal life.
Advance Acclaim for Refrigerator Church
“The reader experiencing the palpable world of Refrigerator Church may bear witness to the authentic religious life of its inhabitants . . . This is work of formidable beauty and intelligence.”
— Jack Pulaski, author of Love’s Labours
“These astonishing stories are a synthesis of the everyday and the extraordinary . . . Each story is written in the most passionate, breathtaking prose by a writer who is above all else a brilliant poet.”
— Kiana Davenport, author of Shark Dialogues
“The improvisational jazz rifts of Nelson’s fast-paced, staccato prose take the measure of relationships of men to men; men to women; men to the sea, to love and war, to the soil, and to the farms and animals of the northeastern coast of Maine and the North Shore of Oahu—our furthest states and most extreme landscapes, both literally and metaphorically.”
— Laura Marello, author of Maniac Drifter
“Blending the rural angst of Carver, the absurdist dialogue of Beckett, and the hilarious religiosity of O’Connor, Nelson’s equally quirky but thoroughly original voice brings to life the marginal denizens of a sparsely populated coastal community of grizzled fishermen, brilliantly mad farmwives, toothless ancient mariners, and would-be writers.”
— Perle Besserman, author of The Kabbalah Master