cover image Navigating the Darwin Straits

Navigating the Darwin Straits

Edith Forbes. Seal Press (CA), $13.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-58005-049-4

If the theory of natural selection holds true, it never went down as easily as it does in this novel, an account of a young man's struggle to make a meaningful life for himself. Meet Jordy McNeil, the repeatedly demoralized but always persistent protagonist of Forbes's (Alma Rose) newest offering. As if adolescence weren't hard enough, Jordy is undersized, a computer nerd and the son of an openly lesbian mother. Fed up with Oregon and a love gone wrong, Jordy's mom decides to move back to her small Western hometown of Kilgore, introducing Jordy to his religious grandparents and redneck uncle. Jordy falls hard for a beautiful classmate, RebaDonly to discover when she announces she is gay that her interest in him is as a confidant. Jordy survives high school and takes a job as a computer programmer in a small California company, existing mostly on hope and unrequited love. When the company is bought out, he becomes an overnight tycoon at age 20, with more money than he can spend and no one to share it with. Giving up his cubicle, Jordy begins a voyage of discovery, searching out the seamy side of Mexico, the gang-ridden streets of Seattle and isolation in upstate Maine. Filled with uncanny insight and surprising depth, Forbes's witty, succinctly told tale will delight readers. Jordy is an eminently likable protagonist, and it's a pleasure to accompany him on his journey. (Mar. 15) Forecast: Forbes has previously scored with queer lit and sci-fi. This time she should find an enthusiastic audience among open-minded members of the dot-com generation who are looking for a spiritual and philosophical jolt.