Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Going Home

Voyage and Return is one of the seven basic plots of literature. Odysseus, Gulliver, Alice in Wonderland, Orpheus, Dorothy Gale – the list goes on and on. But when I picture a hero/heroine returning home I don't normally imagine that home to be Detroit. But that's where Scott Lasser's characters wash ashore.

David returns to help his father deal with his mother as she slips into dementia. Carolyn comes back for the funeral of her older sister Natalie, David's high school flame. But they both also stumble towards the realization that they are looking for a way to restart their lives, and returning to their hometown seems to make that possible. But Detroit? It's a city of high crime rates and abandoned neighborhoods. Hardly the background conducive to a blooming romance. And David's attempt to 'save' thirteen year old drug dealer Marlon further complicates matters.

Lasser knowledge of the geography and psyche of Detroit makes the story feel grounded and authentic, even if the plot twists are sometimes a little forced. It's ultimately a story about second chances, for the characters and for the city itself.

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