new books, new look!

this spring i have four publications, including my new hardcover LITTLE NIGHT, and to celebrate, we have redone the website.   i'm so thankful to adrian kinloch, photographer and web designer, and andrew duncan, marketing manager at viking, for working so hard and making the site so beautiful (and easy for me to use, so i can share lots of writing, photos, and videos with you.)  lindsay prevette, publicity manager at viking/penguin, and meghan fallon, of viking publicity, have been wonderful in providing material for the new site and getting the word out about  all our news.  ted o'gorman continues to be amazing, both as writer of his own fiction and in keeping my site and facebook running well.

tomorrow, april 17,  BLUE MOON will be available as an e-book for the first time ever--the novel was first published in 1993, and was based on a true-life fishing boat incident off the connecticut and rhode island coastlines.  the novel has been out in paperback, and was made into a cbs movie of the week, but this is it's e-debut.

THE SILVER BOAT comes out in trade paperback on may 29--the novel is very dear to me, and i must admit i love the cover and its shingled beach house.  it's set on martha's vineyard, one of my favorite places, and deals with three sisters visiting their beloved summer cottage for the last time.

HOW WE STARTED is an e-special--  two short stories linked to LITTLE NIGHT and THE SILVER BOAT.   the first story, "miss martha's vineyard", visits the characters harrison and rory of the silver boat, back when they were young and trying not to be in love.  the second, "paul and clare," is a prequel to little night, and tells about their dreams of love, nature, new york city, and how they're destined to be both so right and so wrong.

i hope you'll enjoy the changes on my website, and i can't wait for you to read these four new releases.

on another, thrilling note, there was a starred review of LITTLE NIGHT in today's publisher's weekly.


Night Neighbors

[Essay written for the catalogue of Linden Frederick's November 2011 exhibition at the Forum Gallery, New York.] Night Neighbors: Linden Frederick

By Luanne Rice

The night is dark, and you’re all alone, or maybe you’re not.   The road takes you through town after town, headlights coming at you, and you see houses, not so different from the one you grew up in, a trailer park in the hollow off the interstate, a motel with its neon sign flickering out, steam billowing from a brick factory, a spooky Victorian with one light in a downstairs window, and the road feels really long and lonely, but then you see…

Linden Frederick starts the story and leaves it to the viewer to finish.   Twenty years ago I bought my first of his paintings.  No larger than two inches square, it shows a full moon rising above a distant ridgeline.  With detail so real, specific, and compelling, that tiny picture drew me into itself.  It told me about a woman leaving her husband, and I wrote it down, and it angled its way into the first fiction Linden inspired in me.

Another painting, The Night Before (2006,) captures hardship and one December’s dusk.  A turquoise double-wide squats in a snowfield of raggedy pines; an old-model car tilts, as if on a flat tire, in the driveway alongside.   A vermilion streak on the horizon—an unmistakably winter sunset—illuminates clouds overhead.  More snow coming, and you can feel the cold.  Through the trailer’s window a Christmas tree glows with colored lights.  Who lives there, where did they find hope instead of hopelessness, what grace made them decorate that tree?

So many of Linden’s paintings feel as if they’re set on the edge of town, away from the center of things.  They touch the part of us that exists on the outside looking in.  He paints what is.  He doesn’t pretty things up, but he doesn’t have to: he finds beauty in the ordinary, familiar, and lost.  The most literary of painters, he is also the most mystical—a metaphysician illuminating the dark night with headlights, a Christmas tree, the glittering neon of an ice-cream stand, a line of yellow light shining through a neighbor’s drawn curtains.  His work reminds me of the Luminism school of the 1800's, yet is immediate and of-the-moment, so luminously captures the time in which we live.  I think of it as being geographically northeast--Maine, especially--but it is purely American.  

For two decades, since I bought that first small painting, Linden Frederick has inspired my fiction.  I keep a second apartment in Chelsea just to hold his paintings.  It’s where I write.  I’m surrounded by all this work that acknowledges big loneliness, but offers connection and consolation.  He reminds me of my neighborhood, of growing up in a factory town, of my grandmother’s summer cottage.

And I’m moved by the celestial phenomenon that fills his work—turn of day, shadows falling while the sky remains brilliant blue, full moon, crescent moon, the Big Dipper, the first streaks of dawn.

For one of my novels I used an epigraph from Albert Camus:  “In the depth of winter I finally knew that within me was an invincible summer.”

I was staring at one of Linden’s paintings when that thought came to me.


Summer House, 2009, oil on linen, 40 x 40 inches

Painting at top of page:  Highwayman, oil on linen, 35 x 35 inches