Taking its inspiration from Great Expectations, this novel teases us with the question of what Pip might have been like had he grown up in the American South of the 1960s and 1970s and faced the explosive social issues—racial injustice, a war abroad, women’s and gay rights, class struggle—that galvanized the world in those decades.
A guilty encounter with an escaped felon, a summer spent working for an eccentric man with a mysterious past, conflicted erotic feelings for his employer’s niece and nephew—these events set the stage for a journey of sexual and moral discovery that takes Newt Seward to New England, Rome, and Paris—all before returning home to confront his life’s many expectations and disappointments.
Deftly combining elements of coming-of-age story, novel of erotic discovery, Southern Gothic fiction, and detection-mystery thriller, Furnace Creekleaps the frame of Dickens’ masterpiece to provide a contemporary meditation on the perils of desire, ambition, love, loss, and family.
Joseph Allen Boone is the author of three works of non-fiction, a musical adaptation of Herman Melville’s The Confidence-Man, and a forthcoming short story collection. A finalist in four international competitions, Furnace Creek is his debut novel. The author is the recipient of Guggenheim, Rockefeller, ACLS, and numerous other fellowships. An endowed professor at the University of Southern California, the author resides in Los Angeles.