“A big, ambitious, important book…compulsively readable.”
-Matthew Norman, author of Domestic Violets
“poignant … a promising first novel about family, domesticity, and the ties that bind, whether we want them to or not.”
SANTA FE: Brandon Wicks’ debut, AMERICAN FALLOUT, is a thought-provoking novel about family and sexual identity. For Avery Cullins—library archivist, former teenage runaway, and gay man from a small Southern town—“family” means a live-in boyfriend and a surly turtle. But when his father, a renowned nuclear physicist, commits suicide, Avery’s decade-long estrangement from his old family comes to a skidding halt. With his boyfriend’s help, Avery takes custody of his mother and the trio heads cross country in a U-Haul, back to an apartment in Cleveland and an uncertain future. Their journey soon becomes a pilgrimage into the past when Avery begins sifting through his mother’s mementos. What emerges is a story of family, love, and loss as his parents made a home, lost a child, and tested the boundaries of marital love in the 1970s. Meanwhile, in today’s uncertain social landscape, Avery must confront his own struggle between a mother who doesn’t recognize him and a lover who fears being left behind.
AMERICAN FALLOUT by Brandon Wicks (Santa Fe Writers Project, May 2016, 9781939650429) marks the stunning debut of a smart new voice in American fiction.