One of the great pleasures in life is to get totally lost in a book. And a couple of weeks ago, I picked up Amber Dermont’s debut novel The Starboard Sea and didn’t want to set it down. Not only is it a fast-paced story with rich characters and a central mystery, set among the privileged class at a New England boarding school, but it is also, in a way, an offspring of Houston’s rich literary community.
Amber spent five years in Houston working on her PhD in fiction at the UH Creative Writing Program, graduating in the spring of 2006, after receiving a C. Glenn Cambor Fellowship and Barthelme Memorial Prize in fiction from Inprint. She went on to teach at Rice for a year, as a Parks Fellow, a position offered to one graduate of the UH Program each year. During those years of writing, the beginnings of this book were developed. And it is a very good book by any standard, worthy of two reviews in The New York Times including the cover review of the Sunday Book Review. Continue reading