Sam Pulsifer has come to the end of a very long and unusual journey. He spent ten years in prison for accidentally burning down poet Emily Dickinson's house - and unwittingly killing two people in the process. He emerged aged twenty-eight and set about creating a new life for himself. He went to college, found love, got married, fathered two children, and made a new start - and then watched in almost-silent awe as the vengeful past caught up with him, right at his own front door.
As, one by one, the homes of other famous New England writers are torched, Sam knows that this time he is most certainly not guilty. To prove his innocence, he sets out to uncover the identity of this literary-minded arsonist. What he discovers, and how he deals with the reality of his discoveries, is both hilariously funny and heartbreakingly sad.
An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England is a novel disguised as a memoir; a deeply affecting story about truth and honesty and the damage they do.
Brock Clarke is the author of three previous books: The Ordinary White Boy and two story collections. His stories and essays have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, OneStory, the Believer, the Georgia Review, and the Southern Review and have appeared in the annual Pushcard Prize and New Stories from the South anthologies and on NPR's Selected Shorts. He lives in Cincinnati and teaches creative writing at the University of Cincinnati.