It’s somewhat misleading to call Brandi Homan’s novel Burn Fortune a work of fragments as such a designation suggests a certain amount of narrative confusion or impressionism. What Homan gives readers is a rather clear monologue of an early nineties midwestern teen girl in a forgettable town trying to find room to breathe and be something more. It is a very common desire, the heart of coming of age novels. What makes Homan’s story compelling is her ability to capture the banality of such a time and place—historically as well as developmentally—blending it seamlessly with an internal life of grim tragedy, earnestness, naivety, and bitingly smart observation.
Sixteen-year-old June begins the novel obsessed with telling readers about ‘My Boyfriend.’ Initially, everything in June’s life is filtered through this boyfriend and his gleefully abusive, toxic father. Yet as she works alongside them and her peers (who are each enduring the teenage existence to varying degrees of success), she becomes obsessed with the films of actress Jean Seberg, and through her, Joan of Arc. June-Jean-Joan becomes the axis around which desires and awareness orbit. After being raped, June loses herself in Jean’s films (almost live-tweeting them), critiquing them in terms of how the director abused her. When she comes to Joan of Arc, June finds a fluid skin to inhabit and criticize; a means to lift herself up and out of her circumstances.
In simple, direct language orchestrated with the deceptive ease of a sure literary hand, Homan’s Burn Fortune is resonant.
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|Page Count||212 pages|
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