Going Under: A Novel

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Going Under: A Novel

From Publishers Weekly

Jerri, Don and their three children are a 1960s suburban family in picturesque Millford, Ore.: affluent, attractive-and dysfunctional. In his second novel, Luvaas (The Seductions of Natalie Bach) skillfully peels away the layers of deception in the Tillotson family to reveal three generations of trauma and abuse. His exposure of the clan’s painful history, seamlessly narrated from several points of view, begins with Jerri’s attractive and astute sister Deborah noting that Jerri is drinking more than usual. The reasons are soon made clear. Not only is Jerri gradually becoming aware that her husband is unfaithful, but she fears that he is sexually abusing their 11-year-old daughter, Meena-a repetition of a nightmare from her own past that she has never escaped. Hoping for renewal, Don moves the family to California, but matters only deteriorate as he becomes sexually aggressive with Deborah, Jerri’s drinking escalates and Meena’s half-brother rapes her, seemingly pushing her over the edge of sanity. The children’s digging of a huge tunnel in Oregon, their life over an earthquake fault in California and an obsession with the La Brea tar pits help conjure up a sense of a continuing downward spiral and an impending collapse. A surreal and frightening air prevails as guilt, aggression and madness escalate in this powerful evocation of family members coming to grips with their crimes against one another.

Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Author: William Luvaas

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Category: Fiction

Going Under: A Novel

William Luvaas has published two novels, The Seductions of Natalie Bach (Little, Brown) and Going Under (Putna¬m), and a story collection A Working Man’s Apocrypha (Oklahoma Univ. Press), and edited an anthology Into The Deep End (TWC Press). His short fiction, essays and articles have appeared in many publications, including The American Literary Review, Antioch Review, Blackbird, Cosmopolitan, Confrontation, Glimmer Train, Harper’s Weekly, Grain Mag., North American Review, Open Spaces, San Diego Reader, San Francisco Chronicle, Short Story, Stand Mag., The Sun, Them¬a, The Village Voice, Washington Post Book World, and the anthologies Paraspher¬es, Pretext 10, Veritales and American Fiction (vol. 9). His new novel, An Unimagined Fate, and a memoir, The Secret People: A Memoir of Living with Epilepsy, are being represented by Victoria Sanders Associates in New York.
Based on “A Working Man’s Apocrypha,” the title story in his collection, he received a 2006-07 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. His story “Ashes Rain Down” won first place in Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open contest (Winter ‘06-07); another story, “The Firewood Wars,” was co-winner of Fiction Network’s 2nd National Fiction Competition. A film of “A Working Man’s Apocrypha,” produced by Wing ‘n’ a Prayer Productions, was awarded Best Narrative Short at the Delta International Film & Video Festival in the spring of ‘05. He has received writing fellowships from the Edward Albee and Ludwig Vogelstein Foundations.
Raised in Eugene, Oregon, Luvaas is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a student activist. He received an MFA from San Diego State University, and stayed on to teach Creative Writing and Literature there. He has also taught at The Writer’s Voice in New York and The University of California, Riverside, and served as Fiction Coordinator for New York State Poets in Public Service and writer-in-residence at dozens of schools, hospitals, and other institutions in New York State. Luvaas was the first VISTA Volunteer in Alabama, working for civil rights and economic justice. He has also been a carpenter, pipe maker, window washer, craftsman and free-lance journalist. He has traveled widely and lived in Alaska, England, Israel, and Spain, as well as California and New York. He currently resides on Chinaberry Farm in Riverside County, California, with his wife Lucinda, a visual artist and film maker.
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