Algonquin. Jun. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9781616206253. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616208295. F
The metaphor of a flood often signifies the cleansing of old ways, thus allowing for new paths to open. In this new work from House (A Parchment of Leaves), set in a rural Tennessee valley, brothers Luke and Asher are estranged after Luke comes out as gay and, faced with condemnation, leaves home. Some years later the Cumberland River floods and the community is decimated. In the aftermath, Asher, a preacher, offers housing to a gay couple, for he now sees that all people are children of God. For this, he is rejected by his family and his church. He flees, along with his son, to find and to reconcile with Luke. They journey to Key West, where, with help from some folks (possibly angels in disguise), Luke and Asher forge a new relationship. This dialog-driven portrait of a family in pain is lightened by the presence of a dog, as well as descriptions of the sensory wonders of the United States' southernmost point: the scents, the sounds, and the changing, enchanting colors of the skies over Key West.
VERDICT House's tale will strike a chord with those who have taken their own arduous path to acceptance, just as it may bring enlightenment to those who are trying to understand the experience of others.
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