‘Two Days Gone’ Latest Book from Clarion County Native Gains National Praise
A 1973 graduate of Clarion University and recipient of the 1988 Clarion University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award, Silvis has used his Clarion County experiences as a backdrop in some of his novels.
The Publisher Weekly review describes “Two Days Gone” as a skillfully written thriller set in western Pennsylvania.
“Thomas Huston, a respected Shenango College professor and acclaimed author, appears to have murdered his wife, Claire, and their three children in their beds,” states the review. “Huston recently lost both his parents. Did he snap? Sgt. Ryan DeMarco, a state policeman and a friend of the suspect—who’s coping with his own personal tragedy—takes the case hoping to find some answers. On the Shenango campus, he meets a student, Nathan Briessen, who steers him to information about a novel that Huston was researching. Literary references to Nabokov and Poe, some meta-moments about characters and writers, fiction and truth, as well as DeMarco’s complicated relationship with his wife, Laraine, add seasoning to the plot. By alternating between Huston and DeMarco’s narratives, Silvis nimbly puzzles out what took place on the night of the multiple murders, and what it means to go on after a loss.”
Silvis has taught at both Clarion University and is currently an instructor at Edinboro University in the English and Philosophy Department.
“I’ve been teaching off and on at Edinboro University since 2009 or so, and, while driving there three times a week, I crossed a finger of Lake Wilhelm, a setting for the novel,” said Silvis in a recently published interview about his latest book.
“And, every time I did, I thought, this would be a great place for a murder. I kept envisioning additional scenes featuring the lake and the surrounding area, including a few of the local colleges and universities. So, the inspiration was a combination of imagination and the actual evocative settings that kept that imagination working. And, of course, I also drew from my own experience as a writer and academic.”
Praised by the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist as “a masterful storyteller,” Silvis is the author of fourteen critically acclaimed books of fiction and nonfiction. He is also a prize-winning playwright, a produced screenwriter, a prolific essayist, and an occasional poet. As a multi-genre author, his books have appeared on Best of the Year lists from The New York Times, the Toronto Globe & Mail, SfSite.com, and the International Association of Crime Writers. He also co-hosts the popular bi-weekly podcast, The Writers Hangout, at www.thewritershangout.com.
The first Pennsylvanian to win the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, Silvis has also received two Literature Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Grant, six writing fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting, and a Doctor of Letters degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania for “distinguished literary achievement.”
In the words of William Allen, former director of the Ohio State University Creative Writing Program, “No matter which genre he tackles, Randall Silvis is consistently innovative, daring, and visionary. Book after book after book, he proves that he is not only this country’s most pitch-perfect stylist, but also one of our most original and most important writers.”
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