East of Eden


February 17. 2013 1:51AM


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Home has always been a place portrayed as our connection to consolation. However, in Gregory Hill‚??s debut novel, ‚??East of Denver,‚?Ě home proves to be anything but that charming sign plastered in spaces across America.


Enter protagonist Stacey ‚??Shakespeare‚?Ě Williams. Shakespeare is a 30-something city slicker who left home for a place without any connection to the world he once knew. For him, home is nothing short of a plague ‚?? a place of dust and memories that can blow away in the blink of an eye.


The story begins with the death of Shakespeare‚??s cat. Finding it unfit to bury his beloved pet in his backyard, he leaves for his hometown of Dorsey, a ghost town east of Denver, to lay his cat to rest.


Readers soon learn that in Shakespeare‚??s absence, his aged father, Emmett, has sunk into senility, transforming from a man adored for his sharp wit to one severely diminished at the onset of Alzheimer‚??s.


When Shakespeare returns to his childhood home, he finds that his father, Emmett, is on the brink of failure. While it becomes Shakespeare‚??s duty to save his family‚??s dwindling estate, the struggle becomes less about finances and more about the bond between father and son.


Shakespeare realizes that a corrupt banker manipulated Emmett‚??s senility into submission for his own wealth. But, all is not lost. Shakespeare begins to resolve the seemingly ceaseless issues that have piled up since his departure.


Characters Vaughn Atkins, D.J. Beckman, and Clarissa McPhail are all pieces of Shakespeare‚??s past that he also chose to leave behind. These characters live their lives reminiscing about the past ‚?? one of hopes and dreams that have since fallen to the wayside.


In some instances they seem stereotypical. Much of that is due to the way Shakespeare depicts them. As Shakespeare begins to immerse himself back into Dorsey, he finds that his friends are much more complicated and supportive than they appear.


Shakespeare comes across undefined in many aspects. He is lifeless and missing something integral ‚?? a connection to the people he has left behind. However, as the novel develops, so too, does Shakespeare.


Each character seeks their own resolve to improve their life, but the force of the novel stems from this group of mishaps coming together to help Shakespeare settle the score and save Emmett from ruin.


While reading, you may ask yourself if it seems appropriate to laugh. The answer is obvious.


‚??East of Denver‚?Ě is painstakingly funny ‚?? the novel offers a deep, dark look into the real life issues that make society uncomfortable. When we look back to the past and think of home, complications and embarrassing memories may flash before our eyes.


One thing will always remain true ‚?? the people you chose to make those memories with become that home, and that is something that stays with you forever.




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