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 Fiction Review   

Alternative Atlanta
By Marshall Boswell
Delacorte Press, 2005
Hardcover, $22.00 (325 pages)
ISBN: 0-385-33852-X

Gerald Brinkman has opted out of graduate school, finding a niche instead as a rock and roll reviewer for an alternative newspaper in Atlanta. Still in contact with his friends from the English Department, he can't see himself sharing their lifestyles of the quest for tenure and publication, marriage and children, stability and mortgages. He much prefers staying out all night drinking beer and listening to garage and/or basement bands. 

At thirty, Gerald still hasn't quite come to terms with his relationship with his father or the death of his mother. When Paul Brinkman, his dad, shows up on Gerald's doorstep having sold the family home and packed his worldly goods into trash bags, Gerald's unease is palpable. Gerald's mother's death and his father's silence on the matter has left the family estranged for years. Gerald's sister has tried to bring the two men together with no success.  

Meanwhile, Gerald's former girlfriend, pregnant and newlywed, is sending mixed messages.  

Set in 1996 -- the summer of the Olympics -- Alternative Atlanta is a story about making decisions, letting go, and growing up. Gerald is still optimistic enough to believe everything is possible. Smart and funny, Alternative Atlanta combines the elements of a father-son coming of age story with a rock and roll vagabond story for a genuine love story. 

Marshall Boswell grew up in Tennessee and teaches American Literature at Rhodes College. He spent some of graduate school years in Atlanta. His books include the short story collection, The Trouble with Girls, as well as critical studies of John Updike and David Foster Wallace. His short stories have appeared in New Stories from the South 2001, Playboy, and Missouri Review.  

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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