Interview Kevin Pilkington
Topics of conversation:
- The Hamptons during the 80's.
- Youth of today and how it compares with youth in the 80's
- How Technology affects today's youth maturing process
- Teaching writing in Grad School
- How teaching International students has affected his writing.
Kevin Pilkington is a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College and teaches a workshop in the graduate department at Manhattanville College. He is the author of six collections: his collection Spare Change was the La Jolla Poets Press National Book Award winner and his chapbook won the Ledge Poetry Prize. His collection entitled Ready to Eat the Sky was published by River City Publishing as part of their new poetry series and was a finalist for an Independent Publishers Books Award. A collection entitled In the Eyes of a Dog was recently published by New York Quarterly Books. Another collection entitled The Unemployed Man Who Became a Tree was published by Black Lawrence Press. His novel Summer Shares was just released by ArcheBooks. His poetry has appeared in many anthologies including Birthday Poems: A Celebration, Western Wind, and Contemporary Poetry of New England. Over the years, he has been nominated for four Pushcarts and has appeared in Verse Daily. His poems and reviews have appeared in numerous magazines including: Poetry, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Boston Review, Yankee, Hayden’s Ferry, Columbia, Greensboro Review, North American Review, Gulf Coast, Valparaiso Review.
This satiric novel grapples with the social and sexual issues that confront the lives of a group of young New Yorkers who share a beach house in The Hamptons from Memorial to Labor Day weekends. It is during the summer of 1981 when The Hamptons just began to grow in popularity before becoming the exclusive community it is today. The narrator and central character, Chris McCauley, in a voice reminiscent of the first person's J.D. Salinger narrative style,?- is wounded from a disastrous love affair with his ex-girlfriend, Laura. He decides that spending a summer in the Hamptons would be the best emotional therapy he could undertake.
As the novel unfolds we learn about the other share members through Chris's interaction with them. We discover their restlessness and passions as they go about searching for a "significant other." All their passionate and, often times, humorous dramas are staged on the beaches, at the parties, and at the "hot spots" of the Hamptons. Through his nostalgic voice Chris' world unfolds in an entertaining series of flashbacks, complete with male vulnerabilities, insecurities and the role ego plays in moments of self-clarity: "Most men grow old but not all mature." He also offers glimpses of his life with the materialistic Laura and his inability to let go. He realizes that learning how to let go might be where the maturing process for him will begin. It's a major character flaw that he must learn to overcome if he wishes to obtain emotional salvation.
Patty Franklin helps "run" the house. Chris is immediately attracted to her, a small town girl with aspirations of making it big in advertising. She is everything his ex (Laura) isn't: sweet, wholesome and down-to-earth. He decides Patty would be the best remedy for his broken heart and goes about trying to win her over. In the process she helps him come to grips with some realizations about himself. Sometimes maturity needs to be nudged into place.
A few of the relationships among the group become strained as further twists and surprises develop. In the end tragedy strikes the week before Labor Day weekend. It is around this tragic event that all the characters come face to face with their fears, desires, regrets and resolutions.