Clay might be best described as an unconventional coming-of-age story, based on character but with a narrative that opens out toward the larger society and with elements of comedy and satire. The story takes place in a semi-rural corner of New York City in the 1970s and centers on a six-month period in the life of a boy confronting changes in his family, his community, and himself at a time of social confusion and turmoil—including conflicts of identity. The main story centers on cultural and environmental threats to a historic African-American community situated next to a toxic landfill.


“[An] ambitious first novel. . . . Meola creates rich characters and a lived-in portrait of a corner of Staten Island. . . . Over the course of a summer, a 12-year-old boy becomes aware of the injustices in his own community. Set on Staten Island in the 1970s, [Clay} is narrated by a middle school student named Luke. He’s part of a Portuguese American family whose members are outliers in their neighborhood—which gives Luke a vantage point to observe both the local White establishment and a nearby Black community that is often the target of racist vitriol.” Kirkus Reviews

About the Author
Frank Meola has published work in a variety of forms and places, including New England Review and the New York Times. His Times travel essay on Rachel Carson in Maine was published in the book Footsteps. He has written frequently on Emerson and Thoreau. His newest essay, in Michigan Quarterly Review, centers on the ambiguities of Hispanic identity in America, based partly on his own experience. Three of Meola’s stories have been finalists in fiction competitions. He has an MFA from Columbia University and teaches writing and humanities at NYU. Frank lives in Brooklyn, NY with his husband and their two cats.


by Frank Meola
Paperback Original
260 pages  |  5.5 x 8.25
Price: $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-9505840-0-0
Pub Date: March 5, 2020

Distributor: IPG; also available through Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and other wholesalers.
Individuals can order via, online at (see below),
or contact your local, independent bookstore to request (or order from their cart!).
Booksellers, libraries, colleges/universities, gift shops, etc., can order through IPG:
Independent Publishers Group
814 N. Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Order Placement: (800) 888-4741

Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights & publicity contact Dede Cummings, publisher: