Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Best People in the World by Justin Tussing

I ran out and got this book as soon as it came out, not because it was excerpted in the New Yorker last summer. Not because it was reviewed in the New York Times Book Review two weeks ago. Not because Tussing is a product of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. But because it was recommended to me by my former student, Tussing's friend and fellow writer, Salvatore Scibona, whose name appears in the acknowledgements. I was intrigued by the story of a high school boy falling in love with his teacher. But I was more intrigued with the character of Shiloh Tanager, the derelict who becomes the third wanderer in the group when the boy and his teacher leave Kentucky for the bliss of an abandoned house in Vermont. Their roadtrip turns into a journey to self-discovery. I loved Tussing's narrative voice, but I was a little confused by the conversations between two nameless men which begin each section of the novel. This is a book I can't wait to recommend to all of my reading friends.

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