In Paducah, Kentucky, high floodwalls confine the current of the mighty Ohio, and for seventeen-year-old Thomas, the small town he has known all his life is full of limits that have left him feeling as reined in as the river. Things only get worse when his father pulls a few strings to get him a summer job as a subsystems technician at Western Kentucky State Power, and he is given an uninspiring view of what his future may hold.
But the boundaries all disappear when Thomas falls for his new history teacher, Alice, a woman eight years his senior who becomes his first love, and when he meets the town misfit, Shiloh, a vagabond and anarchist who becomes his new role model. With pasts and futures they long to be free of, this unlikely trio flees for rural Vermont, where they live in seclusion, a society of three with no commitments and no rules. Their adventures in freedom and in intimacy come at a price, however, as they discover that a life apart from the world does not ensure a life apart from the past—and for one of them, the past that emerges will threaten tragedy.
With its singular blend of harrowing mystery and subtle humor, The Best People in the World introduces an unusual and compelling new voice. Justin Tussing has written an unforgettable novel about love, redemption, and coming-of-age that masterfully illuminates a moment when everything was perfect—and then, when it wasn't.
Justin Tussing's short fiction has appeared in several publications, including The New Yorker, TriQuarterly, and Third Coast. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and he lives in Portland, Oregon.
Best People in the World 3 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book--it's funny, smart, and original. I stayed up til 3 in the morning to finish it.
More than 1 year ago
From the one-dimensional characters, who can at best be called dull and directionless, to the limping plotline, this book was a complete disappointment. It was a chore to read, and I wouldn't have finished it if not for wanting to give an honest review. While some of the descriptive images Tussing created were imaginative, many were so self-conscious and grasping that they were laughable. For example, page 87, 'We were like the mind of a suicide who cannot be consoled, impatient even after the bullet is on its way.' The inclustion of the men searching for miracles at the beginning of the chapters would have been more interesting had those parts had any obvious relevance to the rest of the story sooner. At best, this seems to be a work that was not entirely thought out and is far from complete.
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