As Conor McLeish’s fortieth birthday approaches, the life he’s always dreamed of has finally taken shape. He has a steady day job, a debut novel, and Will, his Buddhist boyfriend of nearly a decade. He should be happy. The trouble is, Conor wouldn’t know happy if it smiled, winked, and offered to buy him a drink. With a hard-earned penchant for self-sabotage and an unfortunate Jameson habit, Conor frequently finds a way to disappoint himself and those he loves.
Solid Ground is a story of personal evolution—how we are each sculpted by the past, carved out of childhood, shaped and molded by what we’ve done and by what’s been done to us. For better or worse, who we are is the unavoidable sum of it all. But how we are, how we choose to love, and whether we stand alone in the end, that—at least in part—is up to us.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson and Chuck Palahniuk are just a few of my favorite writers, particularly when it comes to fiction. I can now add Jeff McKown to that list. His debut novel is a promising one. The protagonist and (in my humble opinion) antagonist in this book, is Conor McLeish. He manages a book store, has just published his first book and has a devoted better half (His name is Will). Unfortunately Conor is also an alcoholic and has some serious baggage due to a few troubling events in his childhood and adolescent youth. Over the course of the book, a year or so, Conor manages to destroy his career, book deal and relationship due to that baggage and his drinking. The path of destruction he set out upon reminds me of a similar one taken in John O'Brien's sad sad novel "Leaving Las Vegas." Along the way we meet Conor's friends, neighbors and his family. He manages to disappoint them all, but they love him and try their best to help him. Jeff grew up in Florida and the book takes place there. I like it when authors write about where they grew up. Chuck Palahniuk has often written about Portland in his works. The places and people in this book are exquisitely captured with impeccable detail. His investment in these characters clearly ran deep and it wasn't difficult to develop a sense of empathy for every character in this book. Each chapter, despite the darkness that engulfs this story, was surprisingly easy to read. A few twists towards the end, but never a moment where I felt the plot strayed off the path. This book is about Conor's attempt to let go of that baggage and find solid ground. I would highly recommend giving this book a chance to see if he does. Kudos to Jeff for working into his novel a line from a Peter Gabriel song. Yet another good reason to read Solid Ground.