A gripping account of the intricately woven mind of a teenager.
In small-town Minnesota, Colin is not much more than a troubled preteen with an older sister, Heather, who resents him (and everything else), an older brother, Paul, who has autism, parents who grow increasingly distant as time passes, friends he can’t rely on, and a budding, unruly sexuality. When his father commits suicide, Colin is forced to pick up the pieces of his broken family while contemplating both his own death and homosexuality. “It was impossible for a boy to just grow into a new face, a new body and skin….In the world he imagined, boys stepped out of their old skin and that was the end.” If only it were as easy as shedding an old skin for a new one. Simultaneously, Colin's mother, Diane, faces similar issues—though on an adult scale. She begins therapy sessions to deal with grief, picks up unhealthy habits, and gets significantly closer to Colin, neglecting her other two children. Colin and Diane quickly form a redoubtable duo—though much of their development happens when they are separated—that turns its back on societal expectations. For Diane, Colin is her peer—and vice versa. The result is intoxicating. Nathan has crafted an all-consuming novel in which topics like suicide, homosexuality, parenting, friendship, and psychology make up a precarious tableau in which readers can leave their own subjectivity behind and experience the world from Colin’s singular viewpoint. “Nobody caught the names he called himself. Nobody saw him put his hands together and nobody knew what god he prayed to, what promises he made. Nobody saw him unfold his hands and look at his wrists where the blood flowed fragile and breathless and blue….Nobody knew was he was thinking.”
A magnetic first novel combining wit, sex, and apocalyptic reverie.