Touch and Go

Thad Nodine. Unbridled, $16.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-60953-061-7
Nodine's cinematic novel deserves to be hailed as one of the year's finest fiction debuts. In addition to creating a memorable cast characters—including Kevin, the blind unemployed journalist and recovering addict who narrates this contemporary road story—Nodine treats readers to a realistic portrayal of multicultural America and manages to make the plot pivot at the height of Hurricane Katrina's fury in Biloxi, Miss. Kevin, his husband-and-wife sponsors, and the couple's two foster sons (one African-American and one Hispanic) hop into a battered station wagon nicknamed "Betsy" and travel through the South to deliver a handmade wooden casket for a dying grandfather. From Burbank, Calif., to Pensacola, Fla., they face peril and unexpected delays, with the rag-tag "family" falling prey to drugs, violence, deceit, and greed. However, an extended denouement and a last-minute plot twist will leave readers hoping that Nodine will pen a sequel. He deserves kudos for making this rollicking, often heartbreaking, tale believable, especially given the inherent constraints of having a blind narrator. With an honest, vulnerable voice, Kevin proves to be an appealing protagonist, never afraid of showing his feelings, and treating people with the respect he never received. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 350 pages - 978-1-60953-062-4
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