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S. K. Kalsi presents and signs The Stove-Junker at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA

S. K. Kalsi presents and signs The Stove-Junker at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA

Book Passage | 51 Tamal Vista Blvd Corte Madera, CA 94925

In his powerful debut novel, S.K. Kalsi has crafted a haunting tale of unvarnished self-examination, as experienced through the story’s central character, Somerset Garden, the stove-junker. 

In the winter of 2012, 79-year-old Somerset travels back to his ancestral home in idyllic Drums, Pennsylvania, to renovate his dilapidated house. Burdened by the loss of his beloved wife, the long-ago disappearance of his rebellious son, and angry at God and at himself, Somerset hopes to reach a final understanding of the meaning of his life. 

While a blizzard barrels down from the north and “Armageddon” draws near, Somerset discovers an unnamed boy squatting on the property, a strange child who forces him to confront his past. As he unearths objects in the house that had been lost or discarded among the debris, Somerset remembers his father’s cruelty and the accident that cost him his brother’s life; he revisits the itinerant wandering of his youth, tethered to a troubled mother; he mourns the loss of his wife and ponders the decades-long absence of his son—all of whom are caught in the grip of Luzerne County’s ancient history of violence.

Author Cynthia Ceilán says of Kalsi and his work, “Here’s a writer who is going to give Cormac McCarthy a run for his money. The Stove-Junker is the kind of story that grabs you by the lapels and sears itself into your soul. The language and imagery are exquisite. Such a rare gem of literary brilliance.”

That Kalsi's work has been influenced by poets, musicians, and philosophers is clearly evidenced in his mastery of evocative language, and his ability to reveal the souls of loners and atheists, iconoclasts and dreamers, and people turned inward by obsession, broken by love, and crippled by heartbreak.