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Carter Clay: A Novel

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"This is before the accident. No one is dead yet. Blood circulates just as it should, two ounces per pump of the heart."
So begins the extraordinary story of Carter Clay, a Vietnam veteran at loose ends. Drunk and driving a van down a Florida highway, Clay smashes into the Alitz family: Joe and Katherine, distinguished paleontologists, ad their daughter, Jersey. Joe is killed, Katherine and Jersey are seriously injured. In an attempt to redeem himself while still concealing his culpability, Clay becomes a questionable caretaker of Katherine and Jersey's damaged lives. He obtains a job as an aide at the hospital where Katherine and Jersey initially receive care. When Katherine's retired mother assumes reluctant responsibility for the pair, Clay further insinuates himself into their lives--imposing upon precocious Jersey and addled Katherine the baggage of his past and his haphazard faith in God. Suspenseful, psychologically complex, and inhabited by characters that will haunt your memory long after you have turned the last page, Carter Clay is a magnificent novel--a finely wrought tale of the frailty of identity and the possibility of redemption.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 1999

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About the author

Elizabeth Evans

7 books7 followers
Elizabeth Evans was born, raised, and educated in Iowa. She attended Cornell College and the University of Iowa, where she received a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Evans is the author of six books of fiction: As Good As Dead (March 2015), Rowing in Eden, Carter Clay, which was selected by the Los Angeles Times Book Review for the Best Books of 1999, and The Blue Hour, which the Washington Post Book World called "very much a Great American Novel." Her two short story collections are Suicide's Girlfriend and Locomotion. Recent stories appear in the journals Ploughshares and Cutthroat, and the collection xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths.

Evans is Professor Emeritus for the Program in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, and frequently teaches for Queens University of Charlotte's Low-residence MFA Program in Creative Writing. She makes her home in Tucson, Arizona.

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Profile Image for Amy Weintraub.
Author 14 books21 followers
April 9, 2020
This novel is a model in character development and how to build tension in plot through character.
Profile Image for Barbara.
351 reviews
April 4, 2015
This tale throws together an alcoholic Viet Nam vet, and three generations of women, MB, Katherine, and Jersey. It reads like a Greek tragedy; do not expect a happy ending. But the reader will definitely have to consider identity, how it is formed and perceived by self. I think Elizabeth Evans is such a good writer that I wil seek out her other books and have already read The Blue Hour and Rowing in Eden.
Profile Image for Rachel.
294 reviews4 followers
March 6, 2008
This book took a much different turn than I expected, but despite that, it was a pretty good book. It was about a family that got hit by a drunk driver. It was a hit and run, but the driver felt the need to make amends, so he becomes the caretaker of the brain damaged mother and the paraplegic daughter.
Profile Image for Nancy Robson.
633 reviews31 followers
March 16, 2014
The story seemed like it should have worked but for some reason I could never get into it. I kept picking it up and reading for a day and then put it down for weeks. I tried to love this, but just couldn't.
Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews

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