By Kyle Beachy
(The Dial Press, Paperback, 9780385341851, 306pp.)
Publication Date: January 27, 2009
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At once an offbeat love story, a moving portrait of a family in crisis, and a darkly funny American comedy, Kyle Beachy’s arresting debut novel—written in prose that is swift, stunning, and sweet—heralds the arrival of a remarkable new voice in fiction.
Potter Mays retreats immediately after college graduation to the safe house of his childhood home. Like clockwork each morning, his mother makes him eggs, lovingly fried into hollowed-out pieces of toast. His father, in the midst of a campaign to revitalize downtown St. Louis, promises to “poke around” for gainful employment for his son. Potter’s best friend, Stuart—an “Independent Thought Contractor” working out of his parents’ lavish pool house—is willing to serve as a kind of life coach, provided, of course, that Potter pays for his services all summer.
Altogether elsewhere, Potter’s (former? future?) girlfriend, Audrey, is backpacking around Europe with her beautiful bisexual traveling companion, Carmel. Potter was not invited, and getting a good night’s sleep has recently become an issue for him.
As enigmatic packages arrive from Audrey, the refuge of life at home soon proves illusory. Potter’s parents are oddly never in the same room together, the neighbor girl is looking quite adult, and Stuart’s much-needed counseling service is subcontracted to a third-party denizen of the pool house with an agenda all his own. And just what are those noises coming from the attic?
Kyle Beachy has woven a uniquely affecting story of the long and hard, then quick and hard, struggle to grow up.
Kyle Beachy lives in Chicago. This is his first novel.
- What does it mean to Potter Mays to be "the son that didn't drown"? How does the death of his brother affect the way Potter sees himself? How does it impact the way his parents relate to him (and each other)? Do you think he is aware of the feelings he carries?
“The theme is American Home, that place that lesser writers sentimentalize and satirize. Kyle Beachy writes with bracing melancholy in a voice that is all his own, and his St. Louis, like Cheever's Westchester, is populated with isolated, self-aware characters, each of whom is new to us. His hero, Potter Mays, is great company." —Jincy Willett, author of The Writing Class and Winner of the National Book Award
“At once hilarious, strange and uncomfortable…. Beachy’s characters, infinitely fallible, are real and fleshy…. [The hero Potter] is lovable even when he is annoying.” —Publishers Weekly
“A funny and endearing novel about a bumbling guy who makes bad situations worse with the best of intentions....Debut novelist Beachy has a wry wit, a wily sense of the ridiculous, and an athletic gift for description”—Booklist
“Kyle Beachy has a knack for fantastic little nuggets of observation…Like his protagonist, the first-time author is brimming with potential.”—Entertainment Weekly
“An unusually good, and unusual, coming-of-age story.”—Boston Globe