Lindsay Hill's Long Labors: Sea Of Hooks

OPB | March 29, 2014 11:21 a.m. | Portland

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Lindsay Hill’s debut novel, Sea of Hooks, is a painstakingly crafted narrative, comprised of over a thousand micro-chapters. Hill is also the author of six books of poetry. His novel was written and assembled over two decades. They tell the story of Christopher Westall, a boy coming of age in San Francisco. “Christopher’s trying to find his way in a world that’s been shattered to pieces,” Hill told us.”The reader is asked to find her or his way in a series of seemingly unrelated shards.”

The novel concerns memory, family secrets, and the mystic qualities of everyday objects.

Hill was working as a banker in Memphis, Tennessee when a trip to Bhutan left him feeling it was time to turn his attentions to writing, full-time. “I was leading a double life, in essence” he says, “publishing books of poetry in Los Angeles while I worked as a banker. Really the venture into banking was the divergent factor in my life.”

Hill says, as long as his process was for Sea of Hooks, he found prose writing liberating, without the rigor  infusing his poetry.

“All of my writing experience tends to be loser than many writers experience, but still in writing a poem, there’s a sense of compression. You need to point sharply.”

The book bears elements of Hill’s own formative years in the Bay Area, and an acute sense of the history surrounding the city’s neighborhoods. But Hill says as he wrote, he found his protagonist developing in ways Hill says had nothing to do with his own experience. He says there’s depth to Christopher Westall’s experience of the spiritual qualities of objects. “I think there’s a dialogue going on. He’s an isolated kid. He finds friendship, and also deeper meaning in objects others overlook.”

 This link above is our extended interview with Lindsay Hill. To hear Hill reading from the novel, find the segment in this week’s show.

 

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