I am pleased to welcome author Celine Keating today with her new book. The Stark Beauty of Last Things.
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About The Stark Beauty of Last Things:
The Stark Beauty of Last Things is set in Montauk, the far reaches of the famed Hamptons, an area under looming threat from a warming climate and overdevelopment. Now outsider Clancy, a thirty-six-year-old claims adjuster scarred by his orphan childhood, has inherited an unexpected legacy: the power to decide the fate of Montauk’s last parcel of undeveloped land.
Everyone in town has a stake in the outcome, among them Julienne, an environmentalist and painter fighting to save the landscape that inspires her art; Theresa, a bartender whose trailer park home is jeopardized by coastal erosion; and Molly and Billy, who are struggling to hold onto their property against pressure to sell. When a forest fire breaks out, Clancy comes under suspicion for arson, complicating his efforts to navigate competing agendas for the best uses of the land and to find the healing and home he has always longed for.
Told from multiple points of view, The Stark Beauty of Last Things explores our connection to nature—and what we stand to lose when that connection is severed.
You can purchase The Stark Beauty of Last Things at Amazon.com
About the Author:
Céline Keating is an award-winning writer and author of two novels: Layla (2011), a Huffington Post featured title, and Play for Me (2015), a finalist in the International Book Awards, the Indie Excellence Awards, and the USA Book Awards. Her short fiction and articles have been published in many literary journals and magazines.
For many years a resident of Montauk, NY, Céline continues to serve on the board of environmental organization Concerned Citizens of Montauk. She is the coeditor of the anthology On Montauk: A Literary Celebration. She lives in Bristol, Rhode Island, and New York City.
“ … lush, elegiac … in stunning prose [it] highlights loss, the transience of home, and the impermanence of human affections.”
“Keating’s characters are engaging and complex, portrayed in a story that is captivating and relatable … the perfect read for personal enjoyment, as well as for a book club.”
—The Montauk Sun
“In painterly prose, [Keating] wraps a tale of intertwined relationships and the bonds of family and friendship into the landscape of Montauk….[Her novel] shows the human side of the complexities of preserving land and the prospect of coastal retreat.”
—The East End Beacon
“An intelligent, psychologically astute, and beautifully written tale about the relationship of man and nature with not one predictable or cliched sentence or situation in sight.”
—Baum on Books, NPR
“In vivid, memorable prose, Keating evokes the beauty and fragility of Montauk and its residents. The work speaks to the pressing issues of our time, especially the loss of wild places.”
—Tucson Festival of Books
“I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. The characters, the twisty plot, the detailed descriptions, and the setting of Montauk, a place of great natural beauty, all drew me in completely. When I miss being by the ocean—all the time—I will from now on have The Stark Beauty of Last Things to turn to for passages that take me there. This is a rare and special book to keep on the bedside table.”
—Alice Elliott Dark, author of Fellowship Point and In the Gloaming
“Readers will be packing their bags for the Long Island shoreline in this atmospheric tale of love and healing. Keating’s characters prove to be as formidable as the threats to their historic Montauk coastline.”
—Suzanne Simonetti, author of USA Today best-selling The Sound of Wings
“Keating tells an intricately woven tale of the people of a small fishing town beset by land developers and reckoning with its future. Keating tells the story of multiple characters with great sympathy and insight, as they struggle not only with the town’s future but with their own places in the world. A finely written, highly readable book that is vivid and real.”
—Edward J. Delaney, author of The Acrobat
“Céline Keating’s deft storytelling, keen ear for dialogue, and evocative descriptions of landscape come together in this suspenseful novel about a fishing village on the brink of irreversible change. Keating has woven together a vibrant tapestry of characters — including Montauk itself — with sensitivity and insight, informed by local history and real concerns about what seems to be in store for this still-magical place.”
—Mia Certic, Executive Director of the Montauk Historical Society
“This novel embraces Montauk is many ways, especially its fragile physical beauty. The characters have to negotiate their relationship to that endangered beauty as well as their own relationships. The author’s love for Montauk is evident on the pages readers will turn quickly.”
—Tom Clavin, author of Dark Noon: The Final Voyage of the Fishing Boat Pelican
“The Stark Beauty of Last Things brilliantly explores the symbiotic relationship between nature, the community, and characters driven to exploit or co-exist with each other and the environment. Keating writes about Montauk—the last spit of wild land on Long Island—with great depth of observation and feeling, delivering a cast of characters who spring from the page as vibrant and complex as anyone you might meet in the village itself. In the conflict between land developers and community environmentalists, the novel shows how nature itself—and a little luck—can become the deciding factor. This is a wise and often astonishing debut novel.”
—Robert Eversz, author of the Nina Zero novels
“With lush and sensory prose, this incandescent novel offers a glimpse into a wild place in turmoil. Residents of Keating’s Montauk, both locals and outsiders, face seemingly impossible choices between financial survival and environmental stability of their fragile community. The natural world—its palate, its odors, the rhythms of sunset and daybreak, of storm destruction and delicate growth—is the scaffolding and the heart of this unforgettable story.”
—Ellen Meeropol, author of The Lost Women of Azalea Court
“The Stark Beauty of Last Things is suspenseful and satisfying. Céline Keating is a wonderful storyteller, with a keen sense of place and compassion for the people who inhabit it.”
——Hilma Wolitzer, author of Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket