Tumbledown by Robert Boswell

"Tumbledown," the most recent work by Robert Boswell, showcases not only the author's technical writing skill, but also his powerful storytelling. The novel begins with the story of James Candler, a counselor to people with mental disabilities. He embodies the American dream: he's a strong candidate for a promotion, he owns a large house and expensive car, and is engaged to a stunning woman. However, as Candler narrates his life story, it becomes clear that his ideal of happiness may not be so superficial.

Other powerful characters, whose development throughout the novel will have readers on the edge of their seats, include a cynical teenager, a man who struggles with personal identity, a woman hiding a dark past, and a lovable goon who can't seem to make progress in life. Hence, the title refers to more than just Candler; it reflects the lives of the entire cast of characters as well as the plot's disjointed sequence of events.

"Tumbledown" is a rare find; the text is worth re-reading for its rich literary quality. Boswell has published seven novels as well as numerous short stories, and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships.