Monday, June 24, 2013

Hudson in a New Novel

Ever a fan of Alice B. Neal's 1850 book The Gossips of Rivertown, from which this blog takes its name, I have always wished that someone would write a roman à clef about Hudson in the present day--although doing so would likely require that the author have a plan for hasty relocation to another state. Author E. D. Pujol, however, has given us the next best thing: a book about Athens across the river, called The Boys' Garden Club

Here, in part, is how the jacket copy describes the book:
The Boys' Garden Club reads like a haunted midsummer night's dream gone awry but skillfully navigated by a brave Jane Austen-like character, like a cautionary folk tale where a reawakened Rip Van Winkle sings a twenty-first century Yankee ode to dignity before the inexorable passage of time.
Set in Athens, New York, in the summer of 2012, the book is rich in local history and character description and peppered with references to our fair city--usually in comparisons, not always favorable, with the village due west and over the water. There is even a subtle homage to The Gossips of Rivertown (the blog), which gives some sense of the depth of the book's facade of fiction:
Hudson wants to be SOHO--Tribeca! In fact, plans for a new boutique hotel were before the review board that summer, and Gallows Partners, a suspect new developer, was buying city chunks to much river town gossip. In Hudson, there are brand new expensive cars parked all along Warren Street; there is a parade of tall beautiful people strolling it up and down, with discretionary cash burning holes in their deep pockets.
The Boys' Garden Club is getting rave reviews from readers on this side of the river. It may be that this is a book best enjoyed by those at a little distance, who recognize the places and some but not all of the characters and suffer no anxiety about encountering their own fictionalized selves in its pages. 

The Boys' Garden Club can be purchased at two Hudson bookstores--Stoddard Corner Bookshop and Spotty Dog Books & Ale--and online.


  1. After a startlingly loud knock, I found this book on my Athens doorstep like a grubby dead mouse left by a cat who thought he was doing me a kindness.

    Aside from the book's thin historical portrait of Athens, the story is a grandiose and largely immature tale that never quite gels around the bits of secondhand gossip and bizarrely cruel barbs the author wishes to convey as art. The story eventually fizzles out into a nonsensical and clichéd tangle followed by a bizarre epilogue wherein the author tritely makes deranged mental notes to mend fences with those he has disparaged in his pages.

    Mr. Pujol's (self-published -- borrowing the author's parenthetical tic) has hurt many, but none as greatly as Mr. Pujol has injured himself.

  2. Greene County Couture - I’m a bit of a techno geek. I adore technology and am always the first to pick up the newest device. So, I hadn’t read a ‘book’ book since getting my first iPad back in 2010. But, I read a book review in Gossips of Rivertown for a book that mentions my hometown, Hudson, NY.

    The problem was that the book, ‘The Boys’ Garden Club’, a self published book, was print on demand only - no kindle version. I couldn’t download a copy at Amazon even if I wanted to. Very couture, don’t you think? But, I did want to read this book. It sounded like a fun summer read about NYC gay boys cavorting through Columbia and Greene Counties.