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Clay's Quilt

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  2,411 Ratings  ·  210 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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Kirk Smith
Jun 16, 2015 Kirk Smith rated it liked it
A good writing style makes this coming of age story interesting and nice. It touched on the right notes, warmed my spirits among this nice Appalachian family, but failed to move me enough to be truly memorable. For most it would be a 4 if you're looking for a quiet read. Nice scenes of hiking the hills and admiring nature. This has a nice family feeling to it even acknowledging the bit of violent drama at its core.
Rebecca Brothers
Aug 16, 2011 Rebecca Brothers rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 16, 2009 Sharon rated it it was ok
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
Oct 19, 2011 Neil rated it it was amazing
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
Megan Adams
Jun 30, 2012 Megan Adams rated it it was amazing
Shelves: appalachia
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
Jul 01, 2010 Emily rated it liked it
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.
Mar 03, 2013 Josh rated it liked it
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
Tucker Leighty
Mar 09, 2016 Tucker Leighty rated it liked it
I'd consider this to be more of a 3.5 than a 3, but it felt more fitting to round down rather than up, in this case. I felt compelled to read this book, as I too grew up in Laurel County and felt a strong connection to some of the themes of the book. I think House did a great job of portraying everyday life in Appalachia, and many of the characters felt like a composite of a number of people I knew growing up. However, many parts of this novel feel less like a complete story and rather a collect ...more
Douglas Jackson
Dec 03, 2010 Douglas Jackson rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Nov 18, 2009 DeAnna Rigney rated it liked it
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
Jul 29, 2013 Carrie rated it it was ok
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
Debbie Dyckman
Apr 22, 2013 Debbie Dyckman rated it it was ok
About halfway through this book, I decided not to finish it. The characters, although I'm sure representative of many in that area of the country, were not people that inspired me or won my sympathy. Their choices and lifestyle depressed me to the point that I felt that no redeeming value could come from reading to the end. The author's excellent use of imagery kept me reading longer than I probably would have without it.
Jul 05, 2013 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: nook, debut
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.
Mar 28, 2008 Pamela rated it really liked it
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.
Susan Bainter
Jan 21, 2015 Susan Bainter rated it it was ok
I kind of thought the characters were ridiculous. They just seemed over dramatic or something. This was not a boring book and I think the author very talented with words....."he let out a line of cusswords, all close and connected like a string of paper dolls" I expected a better story.
Oct 07, 2009 Natima rated it liked it
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.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Transports you to rural Kentucky with a wonderful voice!
May 07, 2017 Harper rated it really liked it
Extremely well written. A book set in appalachia in the tradition of Lee Smith. The book neither romanticized nor exaggerated life among the working poor in that part of the world. Poignant look at loss, love and family.
Laura Wood
Mar 19, 2017 Laura Wood rated it it was amazing
I loved this! My grandma came from the part of Kentucky where the book is set, and I think the author captured the language and culture and feel of the people and place very well.
Pam Henson
Oct 09, 2016 Pam Henson rated it liked it
Coming of age/identity story. Well written.
Thomas Holbrook
Sep 19, 2011 Thomas Holbrook rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Jan 26, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it
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
Kate Z
Oct 31, 2011 Kate Z rated it really liked it
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
Jan 04, 2010 Rebekah rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 27, 2007 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: kentucky
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
Alesha Leveritt
Jan 02, 2016 Alesha Leveritt rated it really liked it
My best friend recommended Silas House, knowing my love fiction set in Appalachia, and this novel proves he knows me well.

Perhaps my favorite quality in a book is atmosphere. I must have a sense of place. This novel delivers just that. My second quality for loving a book is a cast of characters that are human and relatable while being like-able as well. Again, Mr. House delivers soundly. I love this book. I've ordered three of his others. For me, that's quite the ringing endorsement.

The Good: Al
Narrator: Tom Stechschulte. 5* one of my top favorites. His voice, accent & tone was perfect for this book.

April 15, 2016 NOTE: I just reread this only 2 months after I read it the first time. It was still on my device and I was looking for something quiet to read. I loved it just as much the second time through.

It's hard to believe this is a first novel. Silas House is now on my favorite author list. He was born, raised and still lives in Kentucky. The sense of place in this novel is so st
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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
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