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Locust House: A Novella

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Adam Gnade – Locust House: A Novella

In his latest work of fiction, Locust House, San Diego-born author Adam Gnade writes about his homeland in the tradition of regionalists like Sher-man Alexie, William Faulkner, and Willa Cather. Gnade’s chunk of South-ern California is a place of border clash, of a glimpse of stormy sea from a top coastal hills or rollercoasters, of ratty beach apartments and punk shows.

Locust House is the latest in Gnade’s ongoing life-project, a series of books and “talking songs” that share characters and continue story-lines in an at-tempt to document a personal history of America. In its pages Gnade bor-rows the classic structure of teen films like American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused to tell the story of one night in the life of a group of young Americans.

Here we see Gnade’s characters en route to (and at, and after) a house show featuring their favorite band, The Locust. We see the strain of contemporary American life on those who want it the least. We are given a wide view of lives in transition, of youth on the wane, of candidly depicted sex and ca-thartic bloodletting, of life in the vigorous prime before the pains of adult-hood set in.

We’re also shown a lush, encyclopedic portrait of a place, of seashore and streets, of bedroom and back alley. It is a story that asks, “What does it mean to hold fast to your dreams, ethics, and beliefs while the whole world tries to tame you?” Locust House is a time capsule and a warning, a call-to-arms and, at its very heart, a love-letter.

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