Blog tour

3pm PST, Wednesday May 2, 2012

Excerpt from
The descent of man

A truck with its lights out idled in the street. White steam pulsed from the tailpipe and drifted off, but the truck made no sound. From our bedroom window I could make out the motionless shapes of two men on either side of the truck, facing each other. They both turned toward our house, but I was able to step back before they looked up to the second floor, where I stood in the dark. I recalled having been awakened by a clank like you hear from a distant game of horseshoes, but not why it had drawn me to the window. Marla slept on, but she can sleep through anything.

When I peered out again, both figures were standing together on the near side of the truck. They were studying our car. Even after I realized that the sound had come from a piece of steel striking the pavement, an element of disbelief kept me from piecing together what was happening.

Note to Readers

During salmon season last spring, I was in my office tapping away at the final draft of this novel—long after any creative intrusion might infect the manuscript—when the phone rang. Read more...

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There are books that you can't put down, and there are books that won't go away even after you put them down, the force of their moral conundrums haunting the stories of our own lives. The Descent of Man is a spectacular showcase for both literary virtues—the riveting tale of a modest but perfect life under assault, and a resonating challenge to our own self-knowledge, the authenticity of that knowledge, which can only be confirmed through crisis.

Who are we when push comes to shove? What are we capable of? Do we have the fortitude to save ourselves from the bad things in the world, and the backbone--the strength of mind and spirit--to protect those we love from harm? Kevin Desinger confronts us with these questions in the steady, quiet voice of Everyman, a decent guy sitting in a parlor chair, calmly narrating a firestorm that's consuming his house and family. He has written a novel that is flawless, masterful, unforgettable, and chilling in its dramatization of the way we live in fragile grace each day in America, our blessings balanced on the edge of violence and loss.