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A debut novel about the pleasures and limits of solitude centered around the passing of the Oregon Beach Bill—and published in time for the fifty-fifth anniversary of the historic legislation. It’s 1967 in Kalapuya, a town on the Central Oregon Coast, and Jackson Ryder decides to build a second story onto his motel. His wife, Marilyn Ryder, doesn’t want to take on more debt for an expansion. Their ongoing dispute prompts Marilyn to leave Jackson and stay with her friend Leah Tolman, a bakery owner and advocate for the Beach Bill, the legislation that will make all Oregon beaches public land. While Marilyn becomes an activist, her adolescent son, Tim, befriends Elliot Yager, an elderly lighthouse keeper who wants the public to stay off his beach. Pushcart Prize–nominated Portlander Rachel King provides a peephole into the interior lives of five distinct and deeply human characters on the cusp of a watershed year in US history. A character- driven narrative with immersive natural scenery, People Along the Sand will appeal to book clubs, local history aficionados, conservationists, and all who look for the personal in the political.
Rachel King was educated at the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon and the West Virginia University MFA program. She is also a graduate of the Tin House Workshop. Her short stories have appeared in One Story, North American Review, Green Mountains Review, Northwest Review, and elsewhere.