Place Published: Braddock, PA
Publisher: Braddock Avenue Books
Date Published: June 1, 2020
Imagine stepping into an apartment expecting to meet your brother and his young family only to discover twin babies abandoned to a merciless and empty interior. In prose that resonates with energy and introspection, Pushcart Prize nominee Siân Griffiths brings us to late 90s Philadelphia and the Flannigan family—15-year-old Robert, his younger sister, Bridget, and their recently-widowed mother—who have just made the hardest decision of their lives and left Oregon, and the only home they have ever known, to be with the oldest Flannigan sibling, Sean, and his twins. But Sean’s absence throws the family into even deeper turmoil as Robert searches for his brother in the wake of their father’s death and the family’s monumental move. Navigating the dangerous shoals of a strange city and unfamiliar emotions, Robert is given the necessary insight and courage to survive this new life through his friendship with Jerome, a bisexual African American classmate. Set at a time when bullying and gun violence in schools were first becoming headlines, Scrapple is a clear-eyed, streetwise tribute both to the basic human quest to know ourselves and to our lasting ability to make deep connections with others, no matter where we find ourselves.
Praise for Scrapple
Siân Griffiths’s emotionally resonant, crisply sentenced, beautifully built Scrapple is ultimately a meditation on how not-being-at-home feels like the fundamental human condition when it comes to youth, race, place, money, mystery, just getting by from one day to the next, and pretty much anything else. An impressive work.
—Lance Olsen, author of My Red Heaven
Scrapple starts with a bang and doesn’t let up. Robert’s quest to find his brother is gripping, but so is his quest to find his place in a new school, new neighborhood, and new city. In this suspenseful story, Griffiths still somehow makes space for moments of penetrating insight into what it’s like to be a young person shouldering the weight of loss and unasked-for responsibilities.
—Caitlin Horrocks, author of The Vexations
Scrapple pulls off the impressive feat of writing about youthful friendships in a way that is realistic but still complex, smart, and challenging. The two boys at the center of this excellent novel are tormented by bullies as they face difficult questions about race, money, and sexuality, but they never lose their humanity or their youthful optimism. Siân Griffiths deftly ties all these threads together into a captivating story that will resonate with any reader who remembers being that age when you’re too young to change your life, but just old enough to desperately wish you could.
—Tom McAllister, author of How to Be Safe
Siân B. Griffiths is an enchanter, casting her spell with fresh, unusual words, with impeccable sentences and unerring details. I love the people in this wise and luminous book, a novel steeped in poverty, sexual harassment, and racial discord, a novel daring enough to begin with babies abandoned in an empty and derelict apartment. And then bad gets worse. I started reading slowly, hoping the book wouldn’t end, hoping I wouldn’t have to say goodbye to our hero Robert and the indomitable Jerome, young pals who face the constant threat of violence on the mean streets of Philadelphia as they try to solve the mystery of the babies’ missing parents. Buy this book, friends, and you will thank me. You’re not going to read many novels as powerful, as honest, and as compassionate as Scrapple.
—John Dufresne, author of I Don’t Like Where This Is Going
Siân Griffiths lives in Ogden, Utah, where she teaches creative writing at Weber State University. Her work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Cincinnati Review, and American Short Fiction (online), among other publications. Her debut novel Borrowed Horses was a semi-finalist for the 2014 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. Her short fiction chapbook The Heart Keeps Faulty Time is forthcoming in 2020. Currently, she reads fiction as part of the editorial teams at Barrelhouse and American Short Fiction. For more information, please visit sbgriffiths.com