Ecco editorial director Lee Boudreaux says that Eleanor Henderson's Ten Thousand Saints (Ecco), set in the late 1980s, "takes the seminal elements of an era—the music, the graffiti, the social upheaval of gentrification, the opening salvos of the AIDS epidemic—and combines them with a handful of brilliantly conceived characters to tell a story of virtuosic ambition and grace." When Henderson's agent, Jim Rutman of Sterling Lord Literistic, submitted the manuscript, Boudreaux read it in one night and pre-empted it the following day.
Saints tells the story of Jude, who is raised by hippies in Vermont but later moves to New York City's East Village and becomes involved in the "straight-edge" movement, a punk rock movement that was staunchly against drugs, consumption of meat, and sex. Henderson will embark on an eight-city tour to promote the title.
The 31-year-old Henderson, who teaches writing at Ithaca College, says, "I couldn't have written this book without my husband, Aaron. Growing up, he spent a lot of time on St. Mark's Place in New York, where his mother lived for 25 years, and it was there that he first encountered the straight-edge hardcore scene in the late 1980s. His stories about that period and that place always appealed to me, and I knew that I wanted to capture them, to perform some kind of ethnography. It was the paradox of the subculture that fascinated me the most—teenage boys playing angry music and swearing off drugs?"