'Stash' examines affluent suburbia and its denizens' hidden trials
Suburbia is a loaded word, one that calls forward white picket fences, happy families and content spouses. But just like in any other part of the world, those who live in well-to-do communities struggle with themselves and others.
That's what author and Delmar resident David Klein is exploring in his first novel, "Stash," which hit shelves last week.
It takes place in a subdued suburban community in upstate New York, and follows Gwen Raine, a stay-at-home mom with a perfect life who finds herself in hot water when cops find a small bag of marijuana in her car after an accident.
"She's constantly getting herself in a little bit deeper because she's constantly having to make these choices," Klein said. "It just kind of spirals a little bit for her, getting more and more deeper into this conflict."
Gwen's husband, Brian, has his own issues with drugs, as he works at a pharmaceutical company that wants to market its antidepressant as a weight loss drug, to the government's chagrin. And the couple's daughter is involved with a soldier addicted to painkillers.
While it might sound like "Stash" revolves around drugs, that's not the case, said Klein. It's more about the characters' relationships with one another, told from multiple perspectives.
"I think of drugs as less of a theme and more of a setting," Klein said. "I really didn't try to do any moralizing or judging about drugs. I'm trying to put characters into moral dilemmas and having them work out one way or another."
Seeing the two worlds of carefree suburbia and a more deviant drug scene collide also pushed the novel forward. Critics have been kind so far, characterizing the book as a summer page-turner that still has substance.
Klein has been writing for years, longer than the 15 he's called Delmar home. He's penned short stories that have been published in literary journals, as well as more technical writing and newspaper work. He also runs Klein Marketing as his "day job."