by Sohrab Homi Fracis, Knut House Press
Review by Roy Peak
The protagonist of Sohrab Fracis' novel, Go Home, is a young college student named Viraf, from India, in America during the time of the Iran hostage crisis. (Viraf, rhymes with giraffe, and if you're a regular of this website you know that we think highly of anything that reminds us of a giraffe.) Truly torn between wanting to stay in America and going back to India, Viraf loves rock music, has intense feelings for his neighbor's girlfriend, drives around in a Ford Pinto (Remember those? And why no one wanted one?). He works hard, and often has trouble telling the difference between his long-haired American friends and the dangerous rednecks in his town.
Fracis' descriptions of the American way of life is spot on, often hilarious, and filled with observant details, from the description of a rundown Delaware bar, to describing an acid trip in a state park, a Grateful Dead concert, the trials of government bureaucracy, or the sense of fear inherent in a road rage incident. I'm also digging the portions of Viraf's story that take place in India with his Parsi family, mostly because it just proves that parents, siblings, and friends are quite recognizable and alike no matter the culture.
In America we tend to believe that we are ahead of the rest of the planet, that everywhere else is backwards, full of bumpkins and the uncultured, when often it's quite the opposite. This book is, if nothing else, a reminder that the American dream is still alive and relevant in these troubled times. When I was a teenager I saw the film Breaking Away, about a bicyclist in a college town in Indiana trying to figure out his next big step in life but girls, parents, friends, and the constant confusion and disruption that is life kept getting in the way.
This book hits me in the same way. We're all immigrants, so to speak, when we're coming of age; we're all coming into a new world of which we're not sure the customs, the rules, the surest way to navigate our journey into a satisfying adulthood. Fracis also has a book of short stories called Ticket to Minto: Stories of India and America, which looks just as interesting.
*The photo above links to the book on Amazon, the link inside the article goes to our favorite small bookstore and here's a link to the book on Barnes and Noble. Feel free to use your own independent bookstore's online service to buy the book!
Roy Peak is Sacred Chickens' Music Editor. He has played electric bass in more bands than he cares to remember for more years than he can remember. He wrote the theme song for the Utica, New York radio show "Hey You Kids, Get Off My Lawn" on WPNR-FM. His solo debut album, All Is Well, has been called "Loud, cacophonous, and beautiful by a truly unique artist." His short fiction has been published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and he writes music reviews for the King Tut Vintage Album Museum of Jacksonville. Roy writes music reviews for the Rocking Magpie among others.