Jason Allen: Reading Between the Wines
Jason Allen will visit Hub City Bookshop for our Reading Between the Wine series on Thursday, May 9, at 6pm to discuss his debut novel The East End.
A tragic poolside accident threatens to unravel two disparate families in this gripping debut novel of suspense and culture clash set in the Hamptons.
The East End follows two families-the wealthy, elite Sheffields and the working-class Halperns-who live in the rarified seaside community of the Hamptons. Corey Halpern, a local high schooler from a troubled home, is desperate to leave the Hamptons and start a new life somewhere else. His last summer before college, he settles for the escapism he finds in breaking into the neighboring mansions.
One night just before Memorial Day weekend, he breaks into the wrong home at the wrong time: the Sheffield estate, where he and his mother, Gina, work. Under the cover of darkness, Leo Sheffield-billionaire CEO, patriarch and owner of the vast lakeside manor-arrives unexpectedly with his lover. After a shocking poolside accident, everything depends on Leo burying the truth before his family and friends arrive for the holiday weekend. Unfortunately for him, Corey saw what happened, as did other eyes in the shadows.
Told through multiple points of view, The East End highlights the socioeconomic divide in the Hamptons, but also how the basic human need for connection and trust can transcend class. Secrecy, obsession and desperation dictate each character's path. In a race against time, each critical moment holds life in the balance as Corey, Gina and Leo approach a common breaking point. With an ending as explosive as the Memorial Day fireworks on the island, this spectacular debut welcomes a bright new voice in fiction.
Jason Allen writes fiction, poetry, and memoir, and is the author of the novel The East End and the poetry collection A Meditation on Fire. He has an MFA from Pacific University and a PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University. His work has been published in: Passages North, Paterson Literary Review, Contemporary American Voices, Cream City Review, and many other venues. He’s taught in China, and done at least a dozen coast-to-coast drives across the U.S. He’d like to meet Tom Waits someday and buy him a cup of coffee. He was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont and spent the first year of his life in a log cabin, and then grew up working-class-poor in the Hamptons. He will forever think of Powell’s Books in downtown Portland as a sacred space. He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches writing.