Lake Overturn: A Novel was published by HarperCollins in April, 2009. It was named Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review and Out Magazine, and a Best Book of 2009 by the Washington Post. It won the Grub Street National Book Prize and Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction, and was shortlisted for both the Ferro-Grumley Award and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.
Vestal has been awarded fiction fellowships from the NEA and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His collection You Are Not the One: Stories was also a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and won a 2006 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction.
His stories have appeared in Tin House, The Boston Review, Open City, From Boys to Men: Gay Men Write About Growing Up, Freud's Blind Spot: Writers on Siblings, and several other anthologies.
Vestal now lives in London, where he is working on a second novel and a collection of stories based on his years in New York City.
Lake Overturn: A Novel by Vestal Mcintyre
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (June 29, 2010)
Amazon: Lake Overturn: A Novel
Amazon Kindle: Lake Overturn: A Novel
The Book: Eula, Idaho, is a cluster of steeples, oak trees, and boxlike homes sandwiched between golden fields and a wide-open sky. It freezes in the winter and bakes in the summer, but the air is so dry that neither extreme gets under your skin. It has never seen a battle, or an earthquake, or a Democrat in City Hall.
Still, life in Eula is anything but simple.
Lina and Connie are single mothers, neighbors in Eula's trailer park. Lina, the daughter of migrant Mexican farm workers, is trying to cope with her angry teenage son Jesús, newly returned after living with wealthy white foster parents. Connie, long abandoned, struggles with her literal reading of Old Testament laws against remarriage, especially when a handsome missionary visits her congregation. The women's younger sons, Enrique and Gene, are misfits whose mutual love of science offers stability and respite from schoolyard cruelties.
Determined to win the statewide science fair, Enrique and Gene devise an experiment involving "lake overturn," a real scientific phenomenon in which deadly gases collect and eventually erupt from a lake's depths. In their quest to discover if Eula could suffer from such an event, the boys come into contact with an odd assortment of locals, including the frail-hearted school principal with grand ambitions, a rich but lonely lawyer who finds love outside his marriage just as his wife is succumbing to cancer, and a woman tortured by a past of abuse and addiction who decides to turn things around by offering herself as a surrogate mother.
With sweeping perspective and a Victorian wealth of character, Lake Overturn exposes small-town America in all its beauty and treachery, sunshine and secrets.
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