This vivid story opens with every couple’s nightmare—the disappearance of their comfortable known world. Ruin’s adventure explores the unpredictable progression of character and chance for Francy and Frank Campbell, newly destitute in their early thirties, along with their lovers and foes. And a murder investigator . . . .
Frank is another dreamer whose life is suddenly burned to the ground. More a disillusioned literature Ph.D. than an experienced financier, he had naively agreed to join his wife’s inheritance with his own personal guarantee of a college friend’s private equity partnership debt.
The business implosion and subsequent bankruptcy took all their assets. Francy, an orphaned European heiress, now finds herself homeless, still married to pleasant, witty Frank—who had failed to protect them from disaster.
The couple flees Manhattan to live at a desolate non-working Hudson Valley farm. Frank starts an artisanal brewery with a charismatic new eccentric friend. And, central to the heart of the story, he takes up fly fishing. A local doctor, perceiving Frank’s depression, prescribes that he gain some confidence through self-taught fishing.
Frank’s perceptions on the water are fresh and acute, sometimes colored by his memory of the words of famous writers, now painfully ironic in his life’s new context. The novel weaves together fly fishing and life experiences that ultimately turn shockingly deadly.
And throughout, there is Francy’s story. Now in exile, she re-approaches painting with new and darkly complex emotional energy. Painting in reclusive concentration, she cuts Frank off, tacitly becoming her own woman. Her work’s enigmatic intensity attracts a wealthy neighbor who offers Francy a show in his Manhattan gallery and that attracts a great deal of trouble indeed.
"I see a lot of books that are strong on fishing, weak on writing, or strong on writing and naive about real fishing. This one hits the right notes the right way." —Trout Magazine of Trout Unlimited
"Seippel clearly knows his fly fishing...And we readers are reminded that fishing is only part of the reason we love to fish." —Fly Fisherman Magazine
"The ghosts of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Pynchon haunt the flowing prose of Leigh Seippel's pensive novel…portray[s] a brilliant surface world beneath which dark things swim.:—American Fly Fishing Magazine
“Ruin is a dangerously psychological romantic nightmare about a young couple’s loss and redemption. When disgraced financier Frank Campbell and his also bankrupted wife Francy escape Manhattan, they bottom out at an abandoned farmhouse in the Hudson Valley. As their marriage teeters, Frank takes up fly fishing and through it and hard artisanal work begins life again—until things go deeply wrong again. Seippel unfurls this tragicomic tale in a haunting manner, deeply echoing the vulnerability of early Hemingway and the bitterness of T.S. Eliot. The journey is thrilling, its vividly evolving characters long memorable.”— Barnaby Conrad III, author of Ghost Hunting in Montana and Jacques Villeglé and the Streets of Paris
“Absorbing and astonishing. Leigh Seippel knows the dynamics of streams, sentences, and the human soul. Ruin is a novel to be savored.”—Noah Broyles, author of The House of Dust
“Leigh Seippel’s tale of wreckage, fishing, and renewal reads like a song, drawing us across the hazy Rubicon that divides every lost man’s heart.”— Chase Pletts, author of The Loving Wrath of Eldon Quint, Spur Award winner, 2022
Author Leigh Seippel lives in the worlds of Francy and Frank. He has worked a small farm in the Hudson Valley, complete with officious goat herd. Fly fishing has taken him across four continents. He is a past president of The Anglers’ Club of New York, where he now heads its fishery conservation activities.