Lake Overturn: A Novel
(April 21, 2009)
Eula, Idaho, is a cluster of steeples, oak trees, and boxlike
homes sandwiched between golden fields and a wide-open sky. It freezes in
the winter and bakes in the summer, but the air is so dry that neither
extreme gets under your skin. It has never seen a battle, or an earthquake,
or a Democrat in City Hall.
Still, life in Eula is anything but simple.
Lina and Connie are single mothers, neighbors in Eula's trailer park. Lina,
the daughter of migrant Mexican farm workers, is trying to cope with her
angry teenage son Jesús, newly returned after living with wealthy white
foster parents. Connie, long abandoned, struggles with her literal reading
of Old Testament laws against remarriage, especially when a handsome
missionary visits her congregation. The women's younger sons, Enrique and
Gene, are misfits whose mutual love of science offers stability and respite
from schoolyard cruelties.
Determined to win the statewide science fair, Enrique and Gene devise an
experiment involving "lake overturn," a real scientific phenomenon in which
deadly gases collect and eventually erupt from a lake's depths. In their
quest to discover if Eula could suffer from such an event, the boys come
into contact with an odd assortment of locals, including the frail-hearted
school principal with grand ambitions, a rich but lonely lawyer who finds
love outside his marriage just as his wife is succumbing to cancer, and a
woman tortured by a past of abuse and addiction who decides to turn things
around by offering herself as a surrogate mother.
With sweeping perspective and a Victorian wealth of character, Lake Overturn
exposes small-town America in all its beauty and treachery, sunshine and
You Are Not the One
Lambda Literary Gay Men's Debut Fiction Awards
In this debut collection of eight compulsively readable stories,
Vestal McIntyre combines honesty and compassion with hilarious
dialogue-bringing together the comic milieu of David Sedaris with the
spot-on perceptions of Adam Haslett's You Are Not a Stranger Here. With "ONJ.com,"
a young woman in advertising decides she wants a gay man in her life, almost
as if she were shopping for a poodle. Unluckily, the gay man she finds, a
good-looking and fast-talking freelancer, isn't as pleasant and "fun" as she
had hoped. In the loopy "Dunford," a lonely, aging architect with a
suppressed fascination for female escorts decides impulsively to take the
opportunity of his wife's absence to set up a date. Sadly for Dunford, he
realizes too late that his escort doesn't share his penchant for
masturbation in car washes. Quieter notes are sounded in "Foray" about a
bookish teenaged recluse discovering an unexpected emotional connection to
his family after his mother asks him to read Moby Dick to his young,
mentally retarded cousin. And "Nightwalking" centers on a woman sleepwalker
whose mother's death frames the occasion for a rocky family reunion. You Are
Not the One marks the auspicious arrival of an exciting new talent.
TIN HOUSE Magazine #22 (Vol. 6 No. 2, 2009) by Rob Spillman, ed.
Works by Daniel Alarcon, Eliot Wilson, Emily
Raboteau, Frances Hwang, Holiday Reinhorn, James Salter, Jillian Weise,
Maggie Robbins, Nami Mun, Rob Dennis, Scott Snyder, and Vestal McIntyre
Open City #11: Octo Ate Them All
(2000) by Melissa Pritchard, Michael Taussig, Vestal
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