THE WIND UNDER THE DOOR by Thomas Calder
At forty, Ford Carson has forged a new life as a visual artist in the mountains of North Carolina. A chance meeting with Grace Burnett leads to a burgeoning love affair. But the romance is complicated by Grace’s estranged husband and the unexpected arrival of Ford’s own estranged son.
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
There’s a dystopian Great Gatsby quality to Thomas Calder’s forthcoming debut novel, The Wind Under the Door. Not in the roaring ’20s or giddy excess sense so much as an underlying thread of desperation: The helpless attraction to tragedy.
— Alli Marshall, author of How to Talk to Rockstars
This isn’t just a novel, but a whole world, alive and crackling with real characters. Calder gives his characters’ lives room to breathe and bend, and tends to both their wounds and their joy in careful, exquisite scenes. This is the journey of a man lost in his own life, with art to make and love to give, searching for somewhere to put it all. When it was over, I missed these characters as though they were my own extended family, living beautiful, messy, and very American lives.
— Aja Gabel, author of The Ensemble
The Wind Under the Door is a love letter to contemporary Asheville and the North Carolina mountains, but it's also a love letter to our reckless hopeful moments and dangerous impulses. Thomas Calder writes as if James Salter and Gail Godwin had a literary child who grew up listening to Arcade Fire and Future Islands. This is a beautifully nuanced and resonant novel.
— Wiley Cash, bestselling author of The Last Ballad and A Land More Kind Than Home
The Wind Under the Door is a rare kind of book because it's honest—about the way fathers scar their sons, about the way those sons are doomed to scar themselves, about the generally revolting consequences of indulging one’s narcissism, and of following one’s passions—but it's also brave enough to note the quiet hilariousness of these tragedies. It puts me in mind of Michael Chabon’s novels: concise and taut without being neglectful of the wonderful monsters and crooked angels who populate these pages. Thomas Calder’s is a damn good book.
—JP Gritton, author of Wyoming
Thomas Calder excavates the everyday to unearth wit and profundity. He knows how to pick out the telling moments in a life and illuminate them. He renders artists and surfers and drifters all with equal compassion. That’s what sets this novel apart: how much Calder cares. A reader can’t help but care deeply about these characters, too. A striking debut, and hopefully the first of many novels to come.
—Zach Powers, author of First Cosmic Velocity
Calder’s work—about love, loss, art, sex, and fatherhood—is alive with moody, complex feeling, and populated with wonderfully human characters making terribly human mistakes.
—Jeni McFarland, author of The House of Deep Water
Thomas Calder has written a novel that is reminiscent of certain mid-twentieth century classics and yet utterly grounded in the current moment, reminding us that while the things that surround us—social media, rock bands, art—might develop and change, the drives toward sex and expression and perhaps even something like immortality are very much still in place. The Wind Under the Door is a wise and compassionate novel full of scenes so psychologically astute and viscerally real that they will be lodged in my memory for a good long time. A hell of a debut.
— Ian Stansel, author of The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo
Thomas Calder’s The Wind Under the Door is a stunning collage, every page of it layered with richly textured characters trying hard to hold onto their taped-together ideas of themselves. Even as Ford, Grace, JR, Emily, and Bailey trace tragic paths across the edges of memory and loss—their fascinating personal disconnections overlapping, intersecting—Calder gives space to buoyant bouts of humor and hard-won wit, with generous splashes of whiskey, sex, and surfing, to boot. There’s no question about it: this vibrant debut marks the emergence of a daring talent.
-- Joseph Scapellato, The Made-Up Man