by David Huddle
Hazel is a portrait of an ordinary and exceptional person, revealed in a sequence of narratives that present chapters of her life from childhood into her senior years.
Forthcoming: May 1, 2019
Pre-Order: available now!
David Huddle’s twenty-first book, Hazel is a portrait of a woman both ordinary and exceptional, composed in glimpses of her life from child to elder. Hazel is a loner and somewhat of a pill. Although she’s not likeable in the regular ways, she’s rigorously honest in the way she examines her world, and in relationships with a few other people. Hazel’s nephew John Robert is captivated by the mystery of such a uniquely serious person. He assembles episodes from Hazel’s life, and the novel reveals a lifelong struggle by someone whose integrity is absolute. Huddle proves the complete life of almost anyone would be profoundly complex if seen whole.
When Felton asked her to go to the Golden Gloves, Hazel asked him to tell her more. She was fifteen. She’d never heard of Golden Gloves and didn’t know what they were. When he explained, she was mildly interested and said yes. He’d asked her as if they were pals and did things like that together all the time. But of course they weren’t and they didn’t.
Hazel wouldn’t have allowed herself to think so at the time, but she could hardly bear most of the people around her. Or for that matter most aspects of her life. She thought the misery she felt all the time was her fault. Felton’s invitation was the first evidence she’d had that somebody her age might want to do something with her.
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David Huddle is the author of more than twenty previous books, including fiction, essays, and poetry. His novel Nothing Can Make Me Do This (Tupelo, 2011) won the Library of Virginia Award for Fiction, and his Black Snake at the Family Reunion won the PEN New England Award for Poetry. He teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English and the Rainier Writing Workshop. A native of Ivanhoe, Virginia, Huddle has lived in Vermont for over four decades.