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Going Under
     

Going Under

5.0 1
by William Luvaas
 

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Going Under is the haunting tale of a mother's journey to Bedlam, as she struggles with alcoholism and madness, and the ramifications for her children when she fails to make it back.

On the surface, the Tillotsons seem to be going places: handsome Don with his fast-track career, beautiful Jerri who could be a movie star, and their two children, Jeff and Meena

Overview

Going Under is the haunting tale of a mother's journey to Bedlam, as she struggles with alcoholism and madness, and the ramifications for her children when she fails to make it back.

On the surface, the Tillotsons seem to be going places: handsome Don with his fast-track career, beautiful Jerri who could be a movie star, and their two children, Jeff and Meena. But Don's philandering and Jerri's drinking and mental instability tear the family apart. Jeff digs a tunnel in a lot behind their Oregon house with his neighborhood pals–an underground shelter from the turmoil above ground–never imagining it will become his mother's grave. Meena turns into a human spider, creeping about the house, spying on her dysfunctional family. Set in the 1960s and told from the children's and their Aunt Debbie's point of view, Going Under is a poignant and emotionally powerful tale about the darker side of the human spirit and the consequences for those least prepared to understand it.

"Luvaas tells a terrible but absorbing story and tells it movingly. I hope this book finds the wide readership it deserves." —Larry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize winning Author of The Last Picture Show & Lonesome Dove

"A mother drowning in alcohol drags her whole family down in William Luvaas's powerful novel." —New York Times Book Review

"A surreal and frightening air prevails as guilt, aggression and madness escalate in this powerful evocation of family members coming to grips with crimes against one another." —Publishers Weekly

"Going Under is told with power and authority as it explores a family's collapse into self-destruction and abuse. Luvaas's great power as a storyteller brings the reader up out of these sorrows and into a sense of redemption that is triumphant and true." —Frederick Busch, Author of Sometimes I Live in the Country and Long Way From Home

"Reading Going Under is like watching a train wreck happen before your eyes. It's horrify¬ing, powerful stuff you can't tear your eyes away from." —Susan L. Rife, Wichita Eagle

"I found Going Under to be powerful, moving, frequently funny, and ultimately positive. Luvaas portrays the members of a dysfunctional family with compassion and insight... Those who admired Wally Lamb's bestselling novel She's Come Undone will find Going Under to be a richer, deeper, and more insightful study of the psychological problems that can damage essentially good people." —Stephen Minot, Author of Three Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction, and Dra¬ma and Surviving The Flood.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jerri, Don and their three children are a 1960s suburban family in picturesque Millford, Ore.: affluent, attractive-and dysfunctional. In his second novel, Luvaas (The Seductions of Natalie Bach) skillfully peels away the layers of deception in the Tillotson family to reveal three generations of trauma and abuse. His exposure of the clan's painful history, seamlessly narrated from several points of view, begins with Jerri's attractive and astute sister Deborah noting that Jerri is drinking more than usual. The reasons are soon made clear. Not only is Jerri gradually becoming aware that her husband is unfaithful, but she fears that he is sexually abusing their 11-year-old daughter, Meena-a repetition of a nightmare from her own past that she has never escaped. Hoping for renewal, Don moves the family to California, but matters only deteriorate as he becomes sexually aggressive with Deborah, Jerri's drinking escalates and Meena's half-brother rapes her, seemingly pushing her over the edge of sanity. The children's digging of a huge tunnel in Oregon, their life over an earthquake fault in California and an obsession with the La Brea tar pits help conjure up a sense of a continuing downward spiral and an impending collapse. A surreal and frightening air prevails as guilt, aggression and madness escalate in this powerful evocation of family members coming to grips with their crimes against one another. (Nov.)
Library Journal
The Tillotson family is in trouble. Incest has turned Jerri Lee into an alcoholic and is slowly destroying her marriage and her children. Her secrets and her husband's infidelities have undermined her sanity and leave her daughter exposed to rape at the hands of her stepbrother. Jerri Lee's son is also caught up in conflicting loyalties and fear. For the entire family, recovery comes at a brutal cost. Luvaas (The Seduction of Natalie Bach, LJ 5/15/86) has created a striking family melodrama, but his story is undermined by awkward narrative changes. Chapters shift between multiple narrators and first- and third-person perspectives, giving the novel a disjointed feel. Appropriate for large fiction collections.-Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll., N.C.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940045106641
Publisher:
Foreverland Press
Publication date:
11/23/2012
Sold by:
Smashwords
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
445 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

William Luvaas has published two novels, The Seductions of Natalie Bach (Little, Brown) and Going Under (Putnam), and a story collection, A Working Man’s Apocrypha (Oklahoma Univ. Press). He has edited an anthology, Into The Deep End: The Writing Center Anthology 3. His new collection, Ashes Rain Down: a story cycle, is forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil Press (February, 2013). The Seductions of Natalie Bach was nominated for The National Book Award and the Pen/Faulkner Award. Going Under was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and A Working Man’s Apocrypha was nominated for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He is at work on a memoir: Wrestling with my Secret Self: A memoir of living with epilepsy. Luvaas’s short fiction (fifty stories), articles and essays have appeared widely, including in The American Literary Review, The American Fiction Anthology (vol. 9), Antioch Review, Blackbird, Carpe Articulum, Epiphany, Essays & Fictions, Glimmer Train, Grain Mag., Harper’s Weekly, North American Review, Short Story, Stand Mag., The Sun, Texas Review, Thema, The Village Voice and The Washington Post Book World. He has been a contributing writer to The San Diego Reader, Cosmopolitan (Japanese edition), and The American College Testing Program. He is online fiction editor for Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts. His novels and stories focus on people coping with adversity under difficult circumstances. An apocalyptic wind often blows through his work. Glimmer Train Co-editor Linda Swanson-Davies says of his characters: “He manages to make such swerving and impossible lives feel utterly true…even normal.” Luvaas has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, the Ludwig Vogelstein and Edward Albee foundations. His story “Ashes Rain Down” won first place in Glimmer Train’s Winter ‘08 Fiction Open Contest, “Family Life” won The Ledge Magazine’s 2010 Fiction Competition, “The Firewood Wars” was co-winner of Fiction Network’s 2nd National Fiction Competition, and “Out There” won Honorable Mention in Carpe Articulum’s International Short Fiction Award Series. Ten of his stories have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. His wife’s film of his story “A Working Man’s Apocrypha” won Best Short Feature Film at the Delta International Film Festival in 2006. Raised in Eugene, Oregon, Luvaas graduated cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley, and was a student activist. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. He was the first VISTA Volunteer in Alabama, working for civil rights and economic justice. As Fiction Coordinator for New York State Poets in Public Service, he served as writer-in-residence at dozens of schools, hospitals and juvenile detention facilities, including The United Nations International School and Bronx High School of Science. Luvaas has taught creative writing at San Diego State University and in the MFA Program at UC-Riverside, as well as at The Writer’s Voice in New York and The UCLA Writing Program. He has also worked as a carpenter, pipe maker, window washer, and freelance journalist. Luvaas has lived in England, Israel, and Spain, and for a year in a primitive cabin he built in a giant stump in the Mendocino County redwoods. He now lives in Riverside County, California with his wife, Lucinda, a painter and film maker.

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Going Under 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago