Mud of the Place

Pretty good novels about Martha’s Vineyard by people who’ve lived here awhile aren’t all that common, and if you exclude mysteries from the tally, they’re downright rare. Why was this one almost totally ignored by the island’s bookstores and newspapers? Damned if I know, but here are my best guesses: (1) It was published by a small press in Maryland that specializes in science fiction, not by a corporate conglomerate in New York. (2) How could it really be about Martha’s Vineyard if its main characters include a gay social worker, a lesbian graphic artist who shelters battered women in her home, a single mother who’s trying to get her custody agreement changed so she can move off-island, and a Jewish reporter with a famous father? (3) We don’t like to think too hard about Martha’s Vineyard; we’d rather ooh and aah at pretty pictures.

The Mud of the Place has its own website. Check it out for a plot synopsis and plenty of blurbs from people who really liked it.

Rhodry (1994-2008) and Susanna

Rhodry inspired Pixel, Shannon Merrick’s half-malamute in The Mud of the Place. Pixel is female and about 25 pounds lighter, but she’s just as beautiful, and just as opinionated.

3 Responses to Mud of the Place

  1. Tom Hodgson says:

    Not a novel, but the first chapter of Milton Mazer’s book, “People and Predicaments”, is one of the best descriptions of the Island ever written. Still timely, though it lacks “recent” history.


    • I totally 100% agree — weirdly enough, while walking with Travvy earlier this evening I was thinking of trying to get my own copy from eBay or elsewhere. I dedicated Mud to Betty Ann Bryant, “who showed me where to look,” but Milton’s book, esp. the first chapter, did the same.


    • Just found me a copy of P&P from an vendor, very good condition, reasonable price, and the seller was a library Friends group. Will be good to have it in residence, looking over my shoulder.


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