Raymond Avery Bartlett
"Bartlett’s stunning novel is a poignant, elegiac mid-20th-century tragedy of wanderlust, loss, obsession, art, and redemption. Neil Chase has been caring for his blind father since he was a teenager, while longing to travel to distant shores. In 1964, 20-something Neil falls in love with both Marinne, a kind French girl, and Japanese ceramics. Marinne, knowing Neil is still compelled to travel, offers to care for his father while he embarks on a yearlong voyage to Japan. A chain of unlikely events lead Neil to the hidden pottery town of Moon Island, where he feels a soul-deep connection to the landscape, the spectacular local celadon-glazed pottery, and the angry, beautiful Miyū, who makes the ceramics along with her father. As Neil learns their craft, he is drawn into their family’s tragic story, in which one act will irreversibly alter all their lives. Will Neil go back to what he was before?
Bartlett answers these looming questions with lyrical prose and an elegiac sensibility. He treats characters’ desires and griefs with delicacy; their sometimes dark impulses animate the pages with yearning, desolation, and fleeting moments of warmth. Neil Chase is a flawed, believable protagonist with a wry sense of humor and a passion for transcendent beauty.
Bartlett’s unhurried account of an imperfect world and its complex inhabitants will grip readers. This deeply affecting and well-constructed novel, with its memorable characters and evocative brilliance, will leave readers with a lingering sense of mournful beauty after they’ve turned the last page." --BookLife
“"Alluring from the opening line, Bartlett's prose shimmers
like the celadon glaze he describes.”
–Meg Tyler, author of Poor Earth
Summer to Fall
In this gritty and humorous novel, twenty-five year old Cam Preston tries to navigate the riptides of change coursing through the coastal town of Laurel, Maine.
It should have been easy: Cam and his family would lay his grandmother to rest by releasing her ashes into the waters off of Gray Gull Beach. But the boat pivots at just the wrong moment and her remains are blown back onto the deck. Cam does not fail to see the symbolism. The four years he's spent since graduating from college are considered "extended summer" by his parents. And his Boston-based girlfriend is auditioning more upwardly mobile prospects.
When Cam takes a chance on a job turning the derelict bait shed on Laurel Harbor Pier into an upscale restaurant for a trust fund-fed artist and her bartender ex-boyfriend, he's propelled into a summer where even his best decisions seem to only stave off disaster.
“After enduring yet another winter and outlasting a spring
that is more wind-swept rain than sunshine and daisies, a
resident of Maine cannot help but view summer as a kind
of savior. It’s a time when good things will happen, a season
of promise. For the characters of this novel, set on the
coast in the tourist town of Laurel, this is the summer.
Finally, possibilities dreamed about are within reach.”
–Albert Waitt, author of Summer to Fall
Sunsets of Tulum
Raymond Avery Bartlett
Reed Haflinger and his aloof wife take an impromptu trip to the Riviera Maya, but it's not the reconnection Reed was hoping for. When she departs early for home, he stays at the resort, lost in what remains of a vacation he feels he deserves. But when a brief interaction with a beautiful female traveler offers a clue as to how to meet her again, Reed must decide whether to venture out of his comfort zone in search of her, or accept that he will always let life pass him by.
In this mesmerizing debut novel, acclaimed travel writer Ray Bartlett brings us a dark, complex love story as lush, beautiful, and unflinching as the landscape of Tulum itself, a place that you – just like Bartlett's unforgettable characters – will not want to leave.
“The stars do not align for lovers”