Thin Rising Vapors by Seth Rogoff is a richly psychological novel about enduring yet fragile friendship and the allure of nature and faith.
Ezra Stern hasn’t seen his best friend from childhood and college in the six years since Abel suddenly quit a successful career in New York to live alone in a cabin in the Maine woods. In late November, Ezra receives a letter from an estate lawyer telling him that Abel has died and that he has inherited the deceased’s property in the lakeside town of Casco. That evening, as the first blizzard of the year approaches, Ezra leaves the city for Abel’s house. Over the next seven days, Ezra searches to understand his friend’s reclusive life and mysterious death by poring compulsively over Abel’s voluminous posthumous papers, typed on an old Remington manual. As Ezra becomes increasingly immersed in Abel’s writings, the coherence of the story of Abel’s life builds and disintegrates in successive swells. Ezra discovers in the center of what had been familiar something irremediably alien, and in the heart of that total otherness—the unbearably intimate.
Seth Rogoff was born in Portland, Maine in 1976. He has translated several works by Franz Kafka, including The Castle(2007). He is currently working on a collection of fictional lectures and a nonfiction book on the politics of dream interpretation. He has been a creative writing Fulbright Fellow in Berlin, where he lived for ten years. Since 2015, he has lived with his wife Jana and their two children in Prague.