“I wanted it to be shorter [than her previous novels] and not have quite a sweeping narrative,” Randolph said of her new work, Haven’s Wake (University of Nebraska Press), which was released March 1. “It’s hard to write short when you’re trying to create a full sense of who these people are.”
At 240 pages, Haven’s Wake is a fairly complex story told from the point of view of three characters over three days.
“It’s about how a family has kept an explosive secret,” Randolph said, “and when the patriarch dies, everyone is thrown together and that secret comes out.”
The characters are part of a Mennonite family in Nebraska, which Randolph said adds an interesting dynamic to how they react to learning the explosive secret.
“They’re people…who don’t believe in fighting and are a bit out of the mainstream,” she said. “It made it very interesting to write about.”
Randolph gave an extensive interview about the book on New York–based author Caroline Leavitt’s blog.
Randolph, who teaches a writing course as distinguished publisher-in-residence in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing, said she completed extensive research on the Mennonite community before writing Haven’s Wake, her third book.
She will read from Haven’s Wake on Thursday, March 14, at 7:00 pm at Newtonville Books, 10 Langley Road, Newton Centre; and on Thursday, April 11, at 7:00 pm at Porter Square Books, 25 White Street, Cambridge (Porter Square Shopping Center).