"Everybody, it seems, has to live in this tumbledown world, not just him. He isn't alone..." These thoughts, which occur to one of Robert Boswell's characters near the end of Tumbledown, sum up its theme (or at least the experience of reading the book) well. The story manages to wrest a kind of hopefulness from what could, in other contexts or in other hands, be a pretty bleak setup for a novel.
Tumbledown' s central character is thirty-something James Candler. A counselor at Onyx Springs, a treatment facility outside San Diego, he's on the verge of a big administrative promotion. Candler has been groomed for this position almost since his arrival he now has the clothes, fancy car, and even the fiancée that, according to the outgoing director's definition of success, such a position requires.
No one's been watching Candler's rise as closely as Elizabeth (Lise) Ray. A ...
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