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"Lynch paints a cast of indelible characters, even secondary players, with a deft, sensitive hand. And despite the specificity of Eric’s circumstances, his complicated, shifting emotions are immediately resonant. Though the complex family dynamic (and strange affinity for death) explored in Iceman adds nuance to the proceedings here, this novel stands on its own, rewarding new readers with a tender exploration of just what it means to be
"Poignantly credible...Lynch is the great laureate of American guyhood, and he writes with fierce compassion about a kid who relishes the angry rush of punching men but abhors the thought of a woman he cares for being abused. While the complexity of the situation adds an interesting dimension, at its core this is a story of loss and identity, of a young man finding out who he is through the legacy of the brother who taught him who he was."
"Using succinct prose, Lynch creates a smart, raw story about redefining oneself after loss."
* "[A] powerfully emotional novel of grief and loss...a novel that for the first time brings all of Lynch’s many talents together in one place."
My brother is a philosopher. I know this because he’s told me, countless times. More than just a philosopher, even.
“Philoso-raptor,” he calls himself. “Swift of mind, rapaciously inquisitive.” On his twentieth birthday this year he alerted me to the fact that “at approximately two dumps a day, more than seven hundred a year, times twenty years, that puts me over the fourteen-thousand mark for squatting, most of it on the toilet. That, my man, is a lot of contemplation.”
That’s my brother.
He’s always telling me to be philosophical, to take things philosophically. I’ve never entirely wrapped my mind around what that means, but it seems right now is as good a time as there ever will be to figure that out.
There’s a moss-green river that cuts in half just in time to bypass the hospital on both sides. Sometimes it doesn’t appear green, but even at those times it smells green. Doesn’t matter, though. People are always on the banks, walking up and down, sitting in the park that belongs half to the hospital, half to the river. Because of the sound. It’s millions of splashy voices all going at once, and this river is never, ever silent.
I’m standing with my back to the voices and my front to the gleam of the new hospital wing rising up, eight stories of yellow brick and glass against the deep purple clouded sky. I think I’ve picked out the window on the second floor, in the room where my brother is not going to die. All the voices behind me say that Duane’s not going to die.
Is it being philosophical to believe the voices? I suppose it could be.
Is it being philosophical to be picking up golf-ball-size rocks and whipping them one after another at that window like a spoiled and angry and petulant kid?
Of course it isn’t. I’m sorry, Duane. I’m sorry, man. You’re not even gone and already I’m letting you down.
Posted July 8, 2014