When Sam Pulsifer was just a teenager he accidentally set fire to and destroyed the Emily Dickinson house, killing two people in the process. Sam spends 10 years in prison and comes out trying hard to leave his past behind him. He finishes college with a degree in packaging science (it's a real degree, I looked it up), gets married, has kids and moves to a suburb named, fittingly, Camelot. But the past will knock on his door, and when other famous literary landmarks burn down, Sam becomes the main suspect. From the very first sentence of this novel disguised a memoir I knew I would love this book. At times both absurd and heartbreaking, An Arsonist's Guide To Writers' Homes In New England is a wicked ride that you won't regret taking.
— Shannon, Chicago
Spring/Summer '09 Reading Group List
“The Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England is the most original novel I've read in recent memory. Thought-provoking, insightful, and funny, this is an unusual, and irresistible, story -- a moving portrait of an everyman, who is at once ordinary and singular. An intelligent and satisfying read.”
— Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI
A lot of remarkable things have happened in the life of Sam Pulsifer, the hapless hero of this incendiary novel, beginning with the ten years he spent in prison for accidentally burning down Emily Dickinson's house and unwittingly killing two people. emerging at age twenty-eight, he creates a new life and identity as a husband and father. But when the homes of other famous New England writers suddenly go up in smoke, he must prove his innocence by uncovering the identity of this literary-minded arsonist.
In the league of such contemporary classics as A Confederacy of Dunces and The World According to Garp, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England is an utterly original story about truth and honesty, life and the imagination.
About the Author
Brock Clarke is an award-winning author of seven previous works of fiction, including the bestselling An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England. He lives in Maine, and teaches at Bowdoin College.
"It's nearly impossible not to care about and laugh with Sam. ...He appeals to the fool in everyone and comforts us in knowing that we're not alone."—Chicago Tribune