A Faithful Son
Reflecting on his past, the aging Zach Nance recalls the catalyst—the people and events—that have helped shape his life. Certainly, growing up in Durango, Colorado, produces both the best and the worst of times. Being the only son, Zach always plays a prominent protective role over his two sisters. Yet Zach is unaware that the responsibility will eventually extend to his mother after a tragic accident turns his tight-knit family into one that is dismally dysfunctional. Familial issues persist after Zach moves to Los Angeles. And, though it appears that he has moved on with his life, the question that remains is whether Zach can face his immense emotional and mental demons, especially when he finds his true love.
Michael Scott Garvin’s debut is nothing less than stunning. Mimicking a memoir and following in the flavor of Harper Lee’s inimitable novels—To Kill a Mockingbird and its sequel Go Set a Watchman—Garvin, like Harper, has created a colorful cast amid chaotic and enlightening eras. Set within a near 30-year time period, beginning in the 1950s, Garvin’s narrative is replete with idyllic Colorado scenes that provide the backdrop for the Nance siblings’ childhood playground and scenes reflecting the changing times. A balanced mix of ethos, pathos, logos, and Garrison Keillor-like humor, Garvin’s plot seamlessly flows between the past and the present, keeping to themes of inequality, racism, and sexual orientation.
Garvin’s colorful cast not only functions as foils to enhance the development of Zach, Garvin’s principal character, but also provides plenty of hilarious episodes to help break up heavily dramatic sections. While Zach and his sisters, Laura and Kate, have their own comedic moments, nothing quite compares to Toby Zane’s mischievous church act and Nettie Bledsoe’s attempts to swim, for examples. Others who play distinctive roles, in one form or other, include The Custers (“the only negro family in those parts”), the overbearing and overprotective Sisters of The First Assembly of God, the intimidating Bud Ellison, the effeminate Skipper Jackson, the foul-mouthed Lucy Cline, the troublemaker A.J. McCord—just to name a few. Even Jesus Christ makes an unexpected appearance.
A Faithful Son is bound to be a new all-time favorite and classic.
Michael Scott Garvin
May 10th 2016