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Fourteen-year-old Ellis is getting ready to leave the Southwest for a boarding school in the East. This means leaving behind his mother, and the only real father figure he has ever known, Goat Man. Goat Man has done more for Ellis than giving him his first bong hit. He has maintained a home on Ellis's mom's property rent-free since Ellis was a child, taking care of small tasks and raising a herd of goats-all the while teaching Ellis the meaning of stability, caretaking and commitment.
While Ellis is in boarding school, making the grade while staying (mostly) high, Goat Man rehearses for a journey he and Ellis will take during Ellis's spring break, across the border with his pet goats. When they embark on their cross-desert trek, they are forced to reevaluate a relationship they thought was the only thing that would never change in their crazy lives.
Hilarious and intimate, Goats challenges the conventional idea of family and home, while drawing us deeper into Ellis's journey into manhood. Mark Jude Poirier has an uncanny gift for chronicling the human condition and bringing to life a varied yet dispassionate landscape.
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In Goats, first novelist Mark Jude Poirier brings us an oddly compelling story of two men, one a teenager, the other about 40, both committed adolescents. Fourteen-year-old Ellis lives with his mom in suburban Tucson, Arizona. Goat Man is, for lack of a better definition, their pool man. He takes care of the pool and the garden, and "in exchange, Ellis's languid mother Wendy gave him food, the pool house, and a meager salary. She also provided him with a place to keep his goats." When he's not caring for his herd, Goat Man spends his off hours growing pot and getting high. And every so often, he heads into the desert for a trek with the goats, walking at night in the cool dark. In many of these pursuits--especially the getting high part--he is joined by the confident, easygoing Ellis. This apprenticeship is interrupted only when Ellis heads off to Gates Academy, the Pennsylvania prep school attended by his absentee father. The novel then follows him as he journeys from his unconventional home into the real world.
There are plenty of reasons Goats shouldn't work. For one thing, Ellis is a strangely perfect protagonist. He's good at everything, smart, responsible, too cool for school. Also, the central mystery of Goat Man--how he became Goat Man--remains unsolved. Meanwhile, most of the other characters are one-dimensional: Ellis's slobby roommate at Gates, his spacey mom, his hardliner crew coach. Yet the author has been savvy in choosing his material. The familiar rigors of prep school make a fine foil for the evocative descriptions of Ellis's desert treks. Poirier also cleverly inverts the coming-of-age formula--rather than encountering a strange new world, his tender protagonist emerges into a merely normal one. Most important, Poirier never judges his characters. Ellis doesn't become better than Goat Man or his mother; he simply discovers that he has options besides smoking pot in the pool house, which gives an upbeat twist to this charming and assured debut. --Claire DedererAbout the Author:
Mark Jude Poirier grew up in Tucson, in a family of eleven children. He received a Maytag fellowship while at the Iowa Writers Workshop and was recently awarded a James A. Michener fellowship. He is also a graduate of Georgetown, Stanford, and the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins. His stories have appeared in Jane, Bomb, and Tin House. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
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Book Description Miramax Books, 2001. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0786866802
Book Description Miramax Books, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0786866802
Book Description Miramax Books. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0786866802 Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Seller Inventory # XM-0786866802