Friendswood by René Steinke
Friendswood, Texas, is a small Gulf Coast town of church suppers, high school football games, oil rigs on the horizon, and hurricane weather. When tragedy rears its head with an industrial leak that kills and sickens residents, it pulls on the common thread that runs through the community, intensifying everything. From a confused fifteen-year-old girl beset by visions, to a high school football star tormented by his actions, to a mother galvanized by the death of her teen daughter, to a morally bankrupt father trying to survive his mistakes, René Steinke explores what happens when families are trapped in the ambiguity of history's missteps--when the actions of a few change the lives and well-being of many.
Driving the narrative powerfully forward is the suspenseful question of the fates of four Friendswood families, and Steinke's striking insight and empathy. Inspired in part by the town where she herself grew up, this layered, propulsive, psychologically complex story brings to vivid life a tight-knit Texas community and the events that alter its residents' lives forever.
"Masterfully observed . . . The characters' attempts to grapple with the legacy of this destruction form the tender and harrowing heart of the story. . . . This is a place you live in as you read."-- O, The Oprah Magazine
Riverhead Book, 2014. Paperback.