'Right Here': A story about a particular place and time

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STAMFORD — Have you ever pondered who may have lived in your house before you, about their lives, their trials and tribulations? Or if Native Americans ever traversed the land on that very spot? Or what the landscape must have looked like 100,000 years ago? That's what author Peter Grudin contemplated over the years as he lived in his 200-year-old home of 40 years in Stamford, inspiring him to write his historical novel, "Right Here." Though totally a product of Grudin's imagination, it is historically correct as the reader is taken on a journey through time on that very longitude and latitude where he sits, beginning 250 million years ago, before the breakup of Pangea when the African and American continents were still connected, through to modern day.

From his vantage point overlooking the Hoosic, Taconic and Green mountains, it wasn't hard for him to imagine previous residents painstakingly squaring the hand-hewn beams of his old home or the circumstances that left another house's foundation to ruin adjacent to the house, only recently discovered during the construction of an addition — all traces of life before him. To quote Faulkner, "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past."

In Grudin's fictional story his homestead gets a dramatic facelift, transformed from his modest home into a mansion-esque estate built by a ship's carpenter and veteran of the War of 1812, Elias Blood. Over the next 180 years, occupants include a woman whose husband had an itch for money and gold and took off to the Yukon leaving her behind. According to Grudin, "She had a very interesting time!" Another central character is a farmer who ended up in a nursing home while visiting in Miami and desperately tries to get back to Vermont. Included in the timeline are other previous inhabitants such as a cantankerous Yankee, a mute Native American and an alcoholic genius.

Grudin holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He has been a consultant in writing to Fortune Fifties for 10 years, spent two decades as director of the Writing Workshop at Williams College, and 10 years as a professor of English. He had authored an academic book previously, but this is the first book he wanted published because it was the first book he wanted people to read.

The cover of "Right Now" was also designed by Grudin, and the book was dedicated to his wife, Dana Wilson, who copy edited it.

Grudin said, "This is a story about a particular place and the people who inhabit it over two centuries. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is accidental. The resemblance of the time involved to real time and the resemblance of this place to a real place, however, are anything but."

To purchase a copy of this novel, look for it on Amazon.

You can reach Cicely M. Eastman art 802-254-2311, ext. 261.

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