AMER­I­CAN FALL­OUT

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight Debut Fiction -

Bran­don Wicks, Santa Fe Writ­ers Project Soft­cover $15.95 (345pp), 978-1-939650-42-9

Avery Cullins lives an un­con­ven­tional life. His cur­rent “fam­ily” in­cludes a live-in boyfriend and pet tur­tle, very dif­fer­ent from the tra­di­tional South­ern upbringing and fam­ily that he left so many years ago. But when Avery’s fa­ther com­mits sui­cide, his worlds col­lide in sur­pris­ing and mean­ing­ful ways. Now, Avery must travel cross-coun­try with both his mother and his boyfriend, and some­how rec­on­cile the past with the present with­out los­ing his grip on ei­ther. The novel be­gins with four pow­er­ful words: “I need to ex­plain.” From there, Avery details a jour­ney of both self-dis­cov­ery and growth. Wicks does not pro­vide easy an­swers for Avery. His pil­grim­age in­volves con­fronting and com­ing to terms with a fam­ily that had trou­ble ac­cept­ing him, though the novel also fo­cuses on shift­ing re­la­tion­ships and the dif­fi­cul­ties that come along with nav­i­gat­ing the self in a world where the mean­ing of “iden­tity” con­stantly changes. Amer­i­can Fall­out is a pow­er­ful novel about fam­ily and change. Avery Cullins is a smart, sharp, and casual nar­ra­tor with the self-aware­ness to un­der­stand the im­pact of the lit­tle changes that pile up over the course of his jour­ney. What re­sults is a strong work that re­frains from gen­er­al­ized ques­tions and neat an­swers, and that ends with a pow­er­ful im­age of the lessons Avery has drawn from his fa­ther’s sui­cide and the re­sult­ing fall­out.

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