"Peter Rock showed in the wonderful My Abandonment that he's a master at making strange behavior and strange situations utterly believable and filling them with unbearable suspense. Taking place in the twilight boundary-lands between reality and fantasy, between madness and sanity, where a lot of us live as teenagers, Klickitat tells a fascinating, troubling, haunting story about running away and hiding in plain sight."
–Ursula K. Le Guin
"Fueled many fever dreams for me--eerily wonderful, and I love Vivian in all her resourceful confusion and Audra in all her mysterious certainty. The ghostly impression of the hands on the wall—everything is metaphor and everything is real, the broken bird in the bushes that disappears, the image of the white snakes of notebook paper where pages
used to be; every scene and every image seems to relate back to that
central idea of being there and gone at the same time. A true
coming-of-age novel where the burgeoning awareness moves like a river
beneath a girl's consciousness. Remarkable and disturbing, just like
–Jo Ann Beard
"This book is not for everyone. Klickitat is for a certain kind of person who is ready to think about this haunted and desperate and beautiful story for the rest of their lives. Open this book and you will learn, among may other things, if this is you."
"Klickitat sneaks up on you. It's one of the darkest and strangest YA novels I've ever read. A novel about secret codes and hidden meanings lurking just under the surface of things, its pages are suffused with a subtle creepiness I couldn't shake for days. This is Beverly Cleary by way of David Lynch."
Klickitat, my first attempt at Young Adult literature, will be published by Abrams in April, 2016. It is the story of two sisters who find trouble amid the many mysteries around them in Portland, Oregon. Vivian narrates the story of how her older sister, Audra, disappeared, returned for her, and disappeared again.
Vivian is beset by sudden spells of agitation that cause her to take hold of people and not let go. Her mother spends hours gazing into visualizers on the computer; her father is in the basement, talking to distant people on his Ham radio. The girls' parents are so detached, in fact, that Audra suggests to Vivian that they are not their parents at all. Shortly after this suggestion, and after a period of misbehavior, Audra goes missing.
Vivian feels left behind; she searches for signs that Audra will return, and pays careful attention to the clues around her. Then, inexplicably, writing begins to appear in a blank notebook in her room:
A girl is the sweetest, sharpest thing. For how many years are they at their most dangerous? They can drift, and they can home right in. Or is it hone? To hone is to sharpen. To think only of sharpness is a mistake, of course, as girls are also soft, and that is part of their power. Electrical storms become all snarled up in soft clouds. Some of us were once girls, some were never girls.
Klickitat is a story of sisters, and also a story of how the unseen acts upon our world, how mysteries hide in plain sight. When Vivian is reunited with Audra, the girls set out on a series of adventures both dangerous and troubling. Loose in this wilderness, Vivian reflects upon her recent past with hard-won generosity and wary calm:
I used to be so snarled up inside, agitated, all these waves and words tangled on each other with no place to go, a pressure that kept building and building. Now my snarl is sounds, voices, words.