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Selected as one of the Best Books of 2005 by:
-- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
-- San Francisco Bay Times
-- (#1 choice!)
-- InsightOut
-- Book Marks

- A Book Sense Notable selection

- August winner of's Henry Miller Award for Best Literary Sex Scene

- Selected by and Books-a-Million Book Clubs

- Special hardcover edition published by InsightOut Book Club (12/05 featured selection)



Set in the gloriously rugged Pacific Northwest of the 1970s, Nina Shengold’s debut novel is a page-turning psychological drama that follows three people in search of new lives into uncharted terrain of the body and heart.

When rough-hewn loner Earley Ritter picks up a hitchhiker one rainy night, he can’t imagine how much it will change his life. A "shake-rat" who salvages scrap wood left behind when loggers clearcut, Earley thinks he has nothing in common with Reed Alton, a gifted Berkeley dropout. But when Earley meets Zan, the mysterious woman Reed has been following, erotic sparks fly in all directions.

Amid mounting passions and tensions, the unlikely trio forges a fragile alliance that– like their idyllic patch of forest– will be shattered by violence. Clearcut is both a wildly comic, colorful recreation of a lost time and place, and a moving exploration of the boundaries that divide us... and what it takes to cross them.


"Erotically daring...Stunning prose... Nina Shengold's debut novel revisits the free love era with a fresh voice and an eye for the tricky fragility of inner peace... Shengold does an amazing job." -- Time Out New York

"A red-hot love triangle ... Bursting with period detail and smoldering with sexual tension, Shengold's debut satisfies as both a beach read and a literary novel. GRADE: A." -- Washington Post, Sunday Source

"Shengold easily elevates it with her devotion to the souls -- and not just the commingling body parts -- of her characters, as well as her pungent language. B+." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Jules et Jim with hoedads." -- The Oregonian

"An entrancing debut novel... A powerful recreation of the place, the time, the people, an affecting, surprising and sometimes even shocking tale that seems destined for inclusion in future listings of cult favorite novels about the Northwest... Clearcut resonates on the page and in the memory, with Earley Ritter destined for enshrinement in the hall of Northwest fiction heroes." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Erotically atmospheric ...Shengold has a keen familiarity with this moist, woodsy region of the country, and the sexual tension among the rough-and-ready lovers resonates thrillingly with the landscape. ...Will appeal to young, bohemian readers mostly because of Shengold’s sensitive, credible portraits of the two men, whose emotional honesty allows them to overrule the strictures of a middle-class morality. A nouveau hippie tale with boldness and spunk." – Kirkus Reviews

"A shaggy, steamy '70s menage a trois in a Pacific Northwest logging town ... Shengold's characters are richly three-dimensional, and plenty of authentic era detail makes for a ripping read." -- Publishers Weekly

"This sumptuously intelligent, emotional debut novel by playwright and screenwriter Nina Shengold plunges us into the gritty, grimy world of hardscrabble loggers in the Pacific Northwest. The setting, rendered in stunning detail, may seem an unlikely one for a romantic triangle, but the book's vivid characters win our attention and hearts." -- Aaron Hamburger, Out magazine

"A beautiful, romantic, alive book... Woven together with a storyteller’s grace and the great grand character of Earley Ritter, with whom every reader will fall in love."
–Amy Bloom, author of Love Invents Us and
Come To Me

"A stunning book, one of the best literary novels I have come across in a long time. Shengold’s prose is fluent like a river, and her characters are sharp as knives in this beautiful love story."
–Da Chen, author of
Colors of the Mountain

"A complex love story with unexpected turns and switchbacks. The trio of characters at the center of Clearcut is tough and unforgettable. We follow them eagerly into the forest of human feelings. Clearcut is a novel of grit and a great heart."
–John Griesemer, author of Signal & Noise and
No One Thinks of Greenland

"This great, raw novel takes the reader on a wild backroads tour of the hidden lives of treeplanters and shake-rats. Shengold’s pungent prose seizes the reader from the get-go, and never relinquishes its muscular grip. Clearcut is a completely original novel that captures a time and place with sensuous, sharply observed writing. It evokes the innocence and danger of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild. Stunning."
–Laura Shaine Cunningham, author of Sleeping Arrangements and
Beautiful Bodies

"Clearcut takes the reader on a tour of life on the fringe in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, circa the 1970s... It’s a wild ride, in a ‘58 GMC pickup with one headlight, careening down a rutted mountain road, hilarious one minute and tragic the next. Shengold captures the sorrow and loss that are the constant companions of bliss."
–Rebecca Stowe, author of
The Shadow of Desire

"Clearcut is a vivid and wrenching story that captures the dark side of desire and gives a new twist to the classic ‘love triangle.’ Its setting, the foggy backwoods and raunchy bars of the Pacific Northwest in the ‘70s, and its compassionate depiction of broken lives won’t quickly be forgotten."
–Laurie Alberts, author of Fault Line and
Tempting Fate



Nina Shengold.  All rights reserved 2005-2010.