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January 26 , 2009

The Violet Hour


Katherine Hill's Violet Hour is blazing debut about a woman who just can't stop herself from destroying what she loves most.

For a moment that afternoon, it was only woman and water, the Bay in all its sickening glory squaring itself for a fight.

Life hasn't always been perfect, but for Abe and Cassandra Green, an afternoon on the San Francisco Bay might be as good as it gets. He's a doctor piloting his new sailing boat. She's a sculptor finally getting a bit of recognition. Their beautiful daughter Elizabeth is off to Harvard at the end of the summer. But then there is a terrible row. Cassandra has been unfaithful. In a fit of insanity, Abe throws himself off the boat.

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A love story that begins with the end of a marriage, The Violet Hour follows a 21st century American family through past and present, from a lavish New York wedding to the family funeral home in suburban Washington, from a drunken PTA party to a scene of unexpected public violence.

In this deeply resonant novel intimacy is fragile and the search for gratification breeds destruction. Here is a family ripped apart by desire. And here is a family possibly reborn.

Katherine Hill was born in Washington, D.C., in 1982. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many publications including n+1, The Believer, Bookforum, Colorado Review and the San Francisco Chronicle. This is her first novel.

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