Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The House of Tommorow
House of Tomorrow, the debut novel by Peter Bognanni, is the story of hearts: broken hearts, damaged hearts, lonely hearts, and disappointed hearts. These hearts are simply gorgeous in their expression: shaky, angry, righteous, and lost.
This is the story of Sebastian, a young man who has lived his whole life in a Geodome with his grandmother, Nana. Homeschooled and isolated, Sebastian is taken in by the Whitcomb family when his grandmother’s health begins failing. An argument over his fascination with the outside world leaves him adrift, and he joins the Whitcombs in their home. At the center of the Whitcomb family is Jared, an angry, frightened young punk-rock wannabe. His sister, Meredith is a girl with a reputation, and their mother, Janice lives in terror of losing a child. The absence of the father/husband is bitterly felt by each family member, and they compensate for his betrayal in isolation from one another, rage, and taking on roles.
Enter Sebastian: naïve, open, and on the brink of discovery. His grandmother has raised him to believe that his destiny is to save the world through the metaphysical teachings of E. Buckminster Fuller, the creator of geodisc architecture. He suspects his destiny is something much less grand. His relationship with each of the Whicombs is full of charm: snarling musicianship with Jared, a tender first romance with Meredith, and as a godsend for Janice, who sees him as a way to pull Jared out of his isolation.
And in the background is Nana, quietly re-creating the world to deal with her sense of loss. Sebastian suspects his grandmother of telepathy, and tries to shield her from his thoughts and deceptions. But he also longs for home and safety as he explores a whole new life. The dichotomy between the two leaves Sebastian touchingly funny, and endearingly lost.
Bognanni has created rich, sorrowful, and fascinating characters. He has a true ear: each character’s voice is as unique as he or she is. Some of the funniest moments of the book come from Jared trying to teach Sebastian to curse.
In the end, Sebastian may not save the world. But as he says, he may have saved just one family. And that is something.
House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
Amy Einhorn Books , published by GP Putnam’s Sons
Release date March, 2010