Author Laura Pritchett Explores Human Sexuality In New Novel

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<p>(Courtesy&nbsp;Clayton Jenkins Photography)</p>
<p>Author Laura Pritchett lives northwest of Fort Collins.</p>
Photo: Colorado author Laura Pritchett
Author Laura Pritchett lives northwest of Fort Collins.

While human sexuality is the focus of Laura Pritchett’s new book, she says this is not a standard romance novel or simply a book full of sex scenes.

"The Blue Hour" is set in a fictional isolated Colorado town called Blue Moon Mountain. The narrator often switches from chapter to chapter, giving the reader a variety of vantage points into this small mountain community. And while the residents of Blue Moon Mountain have different things going on in their lives, a tragic event illustrates just how interconnected they all are.

Pritchett, who lives northwest of Fort Collins, has published four other novels and has won national literary awards for her work, including a PEN U.S.A. Award for fiction, the High Plains Book Award and the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.

She spoke with Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel.

Read an excerpt from "The Blue Hour":

Chapter One
Creature of Blue

Particular snowflakes fall on your head as you stand outside your home so as to see the sky darken and the first ones spiral down, and the snow that reminds you of the beauty and brevity of life, how much every person has in common, when measured against eternity.

If you turn away from the waves of blue mountains and look toward your house, you will see your wife. She is visible in the square light of the window, folding laundry in your bedroom, a singular woman who has the totality of all it is to be human flurrying around inside her.

Remarkable, the shallowness of love. You used to come up with grand hopes about probability and luck, health and good fortune. Meanwhile you forgot how ice-thin the space between love and not-love, fondness and irritation. You have lived with your wife in this small mountain town for nearly twenty years, and now your wife is disgusted by the sight of you, she is not in love with you, and you are not in love with her, and this fact has sent you outside to stand in the trees and to spiral alone in the dark valley. You see she is folding your stained undershirt, and you realize that the most popular story on earth is falling in love, and the next most popular story is falling out.

There are many ways for love to end. For some, the lucky ones, there is an intense fight, an unresolvable issue. Okay! you shout at each other. It's over! For others, there is just a quiet dissolution, a slackening and weakening, hardly perceptible. Love most often dies by ice and not fire.

Still, you must take action, otherwise you could be rightly called a coward. You know that it is a great sin, perhaps the greatest, to spend your short life pretending anything, especially pretending to be in love.

When your daughter Zoe was five, she was sick with pneumonia, and as you held her fevered body, she whispered, I feel like a tooth that's dangling by one lousy thread.

You think of that now, because you're thinking that sometimes it is your job to orchestrate the last yank.

Anya, you tell your wife, when you stomp your feet at the door to your bedroom, knocking off snow in the square patterns found on the soles of your work boots, I'm so sorry, but I am no longer in love with life, and I am no longer in love with you. I need to leave. But before I go, I'd like to get down on my knees (and here, you get down on your knee, as you did when you proposed to here), and you say, Anya, I'd like to bow to your more complex, passionate, and authentic original, which I know is in there somewhere. And I'd like to ask you to remember my truest and best version too.

She has turned from the laundry to look down at you kneeling among chunks of patterned snow, a quiet expression on her face. Quit laughing, Sy. It's not funny. Nothing about this is funny.

I'm sorry, Anya. I don't mean to be cruel. Look at this snow, melting. I'm getting everything all wet.

She crouches beside you and takes your cold hands. She says, Get up, Sy. I realize you don't love me, Sy. You're not capable of it at this point in time. But you could be. Sy, you have two children. Don't you forget that. Please stop laughing. The kids will hear you.

While she's talking, you notice, out of the corner of your eye, the purple-blue blur, like sheer fabric that is dancing. This dancing creature -- sent from whatever God is out there -- has been following you for about a month now. Every time you see her, she whispers in your ear. She says: There are many ways for love to end.

From THE BLUE HOUR by Laura Pritchett, from COUNTERPOINT PRESS, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Laura Pritchett and reprinted by permission of Counterpoint Press.