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Clay's Quilt

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,036 ratings  ·  181 reviews
“A YOUNG WRITER OF IMMENSE GIFTS . . . One of the best books I have ever read about contemporary life in the mountains of southern Appalachia. . . . I could see and feel Free Creek, and the mountain above it.”

After his mother is killed, four-year-old Clay Sizemore finds himself alone in a small Appalachian mining town. At first, unsure of Free Creek, he slowly le
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 26th 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Rebecca Brothers
I just returned from a week-long nerd-summer-camp-dream called The Appalachian Writer’s Conference held the first week of August at the Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, KY. It was a-mazing.

I didn’t speak much with the star pupil to come out of this workshop, Silas House, but I watched him from a short distance over the week. He’s not a big man, but boy does he have an enormous voice, both on the page and out loud. He read from his latest work, a novel in letters between two young people, o
Shannon The Show Stopper
This is one of my top five all time favorite books. I've never read better written southerners than the characters Silas House has created. Not just Clay's Quilt but all of his books. The prose flows flawlessly and you feel like you are truly in the rural south. One of the best examples of Appalachian literature I've ever read.
Just a very average read for me. It didn't engage me like Lee Smith's writing. (I bought the book, in part, based on Lee Smith's review.) The characters were underdeveloped as were most of their story lines so it was difficult to make an emotional connection with people or their histories. I kept reading thinking that the pieces of the story would stitch together like a quilt (yes, I got that part) but it never did. I think my disappointment was magnified because of all the good reviews I read b ...more
This Appalachian novel is the story of a young miner, Clay Sizemore, growing up in the hills of Kentucky. He's wild, but kind of heart, and early in the novel he falls hard for Alma, a gifted fiddler. They both have baggage: Alma is still married to an abusive husband, and in her family's Pentecostal religion, getting a divorce is taboo. Clay's life mirrors that of his mother Anneth, who lived a wild, free life until she was killed on a snowy mountain when Clay was only four. He loves his tight- ...more
This is a story of family; blood relation, unrelated folks who earn the title, and those who are family simply because their lives are combined within an identical setting. For some, that setting of identity is the Pentecostal church, for others it's a reserved table at the local highway cash bar, for some it's both. Mostly, it accomplishes its message by describing a journey through a sometimes pain filled discovery; reopening of wounds from the past- stories known to some characters and fresh ...more
Megan Adams
Silas House continues to deliver in this novel which picks up where The Coal Tattoo left off in the telling of the stories of Anneth and Easter, by portraying of the lives of the Sizemore family in the Kentucky Mountains. I enjoyed reading the story which takes place in the early 1990s and explores the culture in compelling, yet realistic terms. House does not make light of the difficulties of living in the region, nor does he apologize for them. His prose is lyrical, and his celebration of the ...more
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The cover, the title and the author had me set up for high expectations but boy, I really hit the jackpot this time with this "HickLit". I think the bar hopping and the incessant moaning about love, his mama and the occasional attempts at good writing put me over the edge of sanity. I do not like stories about drinking, partying, bar hopping or the hick drama that goes along with it. Mind you, I am a daughter of an Appalachian born and bred man from a long line of moonshiners, tobacco farmers an ...more
DeAnna Rigney
This is the third book I’ve read by this author, and probably my least favorite but that is not to say it is not worth reading because it is. House’s books are very lyrical and full of beautiful imagery and strong non-cliché country folk. I don’t think his books are commonly referred to as a trilogy, because each can be read on its own independent of the others, but the books relay stories from three generations of the same family and it is interesting to finally know where the end of one charac ...more
I feel like a bad Kentuckian for not enjoying this book more, but I really tried to! The story wasn't bad, but I have to say I'm very surprised by the heaps of praise House got for the book. I loved the Appalachian voice, but the prose overall was so basic it almost felt like a book for younger readers. It very much felt like a first book in need of a better editor. I'll give some of his later work a try and hope that I enjoy it more - we need more authors who give nuanced portrayals of Appalach ...more
Absolutely loved this book, and the story of Clay, from the mountains of Appalachian Kentucky. Rich character development, speaking of love and death and murder and seasons and heritage and future generations.

Several reviews mentioned that there were three books in the series (Clay's Quilt 2001, A Parchment of Leaves 2003, and The Coal Tattoo 2004). It should be noted that these books were not chronologically written. Parchment of Leaves takes place in the early 1900's, then Clay's Quilt is the
Marina Robbins
I cried. It gets you RIGHT at the end. I didn't see that coming.

I love fiction, tales, stories about families, their cultures and traditions. Silas House is my kind of writer. The story of Appalachian Mountain people of Kentucky brings me to a place where simple living is the only known way to live. Never crossing the town border. Everything is handmade. The tragedies, the relationships and the bond of these incestuous people will forever stay with me.

When Alma and Clay see the ocean for the f
An older debut that came highly recommended. Just the right mixture of plot and descriptive narrative, so it never felt slow or hurried along. A powerful testament to the healing nature of family and love. Each character is fleshed out vividly, warts and all. And the Pentecostal leanings resonated strongly for this reader; I saw my grandma in these pages.
I just couldn't really get into this book. The descriptions of the landscape were beautiful and evocative, but I just didn't love the characters, so I didn't find myself caring about how things would turn out for them. And then the ending was just kinda blah. So not a huge winner for me.
This is beautifully written, all of a piece prose. It's part of a trilogy. I look forward to the other books in this series. Our university has picked this as the Freshman Experience book for fall 2008. I'm interested in seeing what students think of it.
Silas House does a wonderful job of engulfing you into the story and through his writing, you imagine you can see and feel Free Creek. I love his descriptive phrases of the mist hanging over the mountains and how much Clay, Alma, Easter, Evangeline, Anneth, and all the other characters love their homeland and couldn't imagine ever living anywhere else but the hills of Kentucky.
Clay's mother was killed when he was just 4 years old by his stepfather. His biological dad was MIA in the Vietnam war
Writing was good, but the storyline was not. The main component was lost by incorporating deus ex machina. Its worth your time, but don't expect greatness.

I appreciated the portrayal of Paul (an equal opportunity quilter)

pg 20 "When Clay was little, newspapers boasted that the War on Poverty was being waged in those very mountains, but if the government had fought any battles clse to Free Creek, no on in the holler heard the guns."

Annith's selection of colors--way we deal with life--
pg 38 "A quilt needs some browns and grays to even it all out, ..."

pg 211 dogwood flowers--symbolism
A field of wildflowers would be a better place to
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
Transports you to rural Kentucky with a wonderful voice!
o After his mother is killed, four-year-old Clay Sizemore finds himself alone in a small Appalachian mining town. At first, unsure of Free Creek, he slowly learns to lean on its residents as family. There’s Aunt Easter, who is always filled with a sense of foreboding, bound to her faith above all; quiltmaking Uncle Paul; untamable Evangeline; and Alma, the fiddler whose song wends it way into Clay’s heart. Together, they help Clay fashion a quilt of a life from what treasured pieces surround him ...more
Silas House has a marvelous connection with this area of Kentucky/ Appalachian Mountain area and its people. And he can convey it with lyrical language and precise personality characterization. I was generous and rounded this up to 4 star, because of this ability to convey the culture, the weather, the nature, the natives- the entire. But I did think the plot was less substantial than in his others of this family's history, especially Parchment of Leaves. It's probably me and not the book, becau ...more
Ben Gierhart
Note: This is a 4.5 star review.

I loved this book. In fact, the only negative thing I have to say about it that I felt things wrapped up a tad too quickly in the end, but as far as first novels go, it just does not get better than this.

I recently performed in "This Is My Heart For You," a short play also written by Silas House, and I wanted to get a taste for his other writing. I found Mr. House's penchant for poetic language and richly detailed, authentic characters on full display in this boo
A slice of life from the mountains of Kentucky. Really reads like a love letter to the people who live in those hills. In a way, nothing much happens, while everything happens. Love happens, love is destroyed, new life is created, life is destroyed. The important things are love, family, religion, a sense of place and fiercely belonging to that place.

I found the character of Dreama to be interesting. At the beginning, she tells Clay that she loves Darry, and that nothing in her life will mean an
Clay’s Quilt by Silas House finishes the story of Free Creek, The children are grown and have children of their own. We are at present day and drugs and gun violence is more common. Folks get drunk on the weekends at the “honky-tonk” rather than the field. Husbands beat their wives, and the wives leave when their husbands cheat. I am curious to read the first novel in this family story, because the evolution of free spirit has faded some in Clay and yet old family patterns are still present.
This was a story about an extended family in the Appalachian area of Kentucky. They really seem to care for each other and look out for each other. Many of the characters are Pentecostals. The passion they feel in their lives and religion can be quite extreme. Even though some of the people do not go to church, they still feel the binds of the church. The main character, Clay,was rasied by family members after his mother is murdered. His father is kind of unknown. (isn't this true of some people ...more
Kate Z
This might be one of those books that I liked because I wasn't expecting to like it - or one of those books that just happened to be exactly what I "needed" to read at just the right time ... but I truly enjoyed this very simple but well written book about a young Kentucky miner trying to figure out his place in the world. It's a story of love and family and community.

When I was deciding what to read next nothing was really piquing my interest. I had this book - a character story which was also
Kelsey Burnette
Wow. Silas House is officially on my list of favorite authors. This book is so beautifully written. If you love Appalachia--the mountains, culture, and people--you have to read this book. You should read it anyway, because the writing is so spectacular. It made me feel the way I felt the first time I read Eudora Welty's "Delta Wedding." Like I was reading a painting. The words so beautifully capture the characters, the place, the events. I think this book also appealed to me because it is about ...more
Thomas Holbrook
This book is the first in Mr. House’s “Crow County Trilogy” but it is set as the conclusion of the story that began with A Parchment of Leaves which is set in the early part of the last century. This installment focuses upon Anneth’s son, Clay, whom was birthed at the end of the trilogy’s final book (but second chronologically) The Coal Tattoo. This is mentioned only as reminder that each novel can stand alone, but the whole is great than the sum of its parts. Each part of this story is a verse ...more
Regina Spiker
Such a gritty, beautiful novel of tragedy and the sweet, uplifting love of family and friends, set in the coal mining towns and deep, lovely hollows of Kentucky. Brought up in a coal mining town in Western Maryland - I'm always eager to read of books that share my own area's geological features. This book has been on my "want to read" list for many months.

Young coal-miner Clay Sizemore is surrounded by family - there's the indomitable, faith filled Aunt Easter who raised him, Great-Uncle Paul th
Silas House is a regional writer from the mountains of Kentucky yet this book is a good read whether you are from this region or not.
Everyone would enjoy the story about a man searching for something of his childhood, of his mother murdered right in front of him when he was just 4. In finding out about his mother he pieces his mothers life together like one of the quilts that his great uncle makes.In the end when he is presented with a quilt made of her clothes for his own child, he knows that
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Silas House is an American writer best known for his novels. He is also a music journalist, environmental activist, and columnist. He lives in Eastern Kentucky, where he was born and raised.

House's fiction is known for its attention to the natural world, working class characters, and the plight of the rural place and rural people. He is also a music journalist, environmental activist and columnist
More about Silas House...
A Parchment of Leaves Same Sun Here The Coal Tattoo Eli the Good Something's Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal

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