Narrator Mac Scullery opens the novel…
I have to compose this story before I begin my sentence in federal prison. This was difficult because this is unlike anything I have ever written.
This story is about a group of people I know, and have known for a number of years. It is a more personal story; something I’m not accustomed to writing. And it is about one person in particular. He is the man I’ve known my entire life who became a man that neither I nor anybody within our group ever thought possible. It provides me with hope. For he was the epitome of the obedient American, questioning nothing until life slapped him hard across the face. He is my cousin, Darryl Lawrence.
The Y in Life is about the revelations and consequences of questioning life. Darryl Lawrence was a man who never questioned anything. On the cusp of his marriage proposal to college friend, Lisa Nelson, a shocking event happens that causes him to question the purpose of life.
Darryl’s cousin, a progressive journalist named Mac Scullery, conveys Darryl’s story and growth, while undergoing his own personal transformation.
With impressive acumen, first-time novelist Michael Kitchen gives us a tale in the vein of Somerset Maugham’s “The Razor’s Edge.” Modern day seeker Darryl Lawrence’s quest highlights the fact that beneath everything that drives and distracts us there is, first and foremost, the quest for meaning. In “The Y in Life,” Darryl travels half way around the globe and back, his journey leading to an altered perception of the world, which will have significant impact on the other characters, and the reader as well.
–Kelly Fordon author of Tell Me When it Starts to Hurt.
The personal collides with the political in The Y in Life. Kitchen sets his tale of a group of old friends navigating modern life and love in the middle of the political struggles of the late 90’s to post-2001 America. He uses the WTO battle of Seattle, the protests against the School of the America’s in Ft. Benning Georgia, the fight against worker exploitation in Third World countries as a backdrop to the search for love, stability, social justice and spiritual enlightenment. The characters are sharply drawn and the examination of the political climate insightful. You’ll recognize the characters and remember them long after you finish this fine book.
-Barbara Ingalls, Detroit labor activist
The Y in Life was released on September 17, 2013, with a launch party by Grey Wolfe Publishing in Troy, Michigan. Below is a video of my reading at the event.
WHERE TO PURCHASE:
The Y in Life is no longer in print. There may be copies available on the shelves at some of my favorite indie book stores:
And I have a few on hand left that you can order on eBay.
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Found on GOODREADS:
Michael Kitchen’s debut novel, The Y in life, is as much a global saga as it is a Detroit story, because, though firmly rooted in the Detroit area, the novel travels all over the world and delves deep into material, existential and spiritual questions that face the humanity today.Darryl Lawrence seems to have the ideal life. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of his college graduation, his life seems set on a straight course to live the American dream – a college degree, a good white collar job, a beautiful woman who wants him to marry her. As he pauses over the question of marriage, a chance but gruesome crime upends Darryl’s whole perspective and makes him confront the question – “What is life about? What has my life been about?”Darryl sets out on a global quest, visiting India, Indonesia and South Korea, in an effort to discover the answer and to discover himself.The story is narrated in the voice of Mac, Darryl’s cousin, roommate and best friend. As a progressive freelance journalist, Mac’s voice provides a fascinating counterpoint not only to the lives and careers of his college mates, but also to the various national and international events. Time wise, the story straddles the change of the millennium, forming the perfect stage to enact the intermix of the personal aspirations with the political and social realities. Author Mike weaves this intermix very skillfully, without lecturing his audience.The narrator Mac’s rather unique career lends ample chance in the narrative to recount the various progressive movements in the US and the world, triggered by the blatant globalization. Mac dispassionately deconstructs the myth of a liberal Democratic party, especially that of the Clinton Presidency.I have not read such a clear visioned reasoning of contemporary US political scenario in fiction in quite some time. The characters are lively and lifelike, with their passions and insecurities. Mike’s prose is pleasant to read. As most of the story is in the form of dialog, it has a certain conversational style to it, making it a pleasure to read.In conclusion, this is a must read for any one who has ever pondered the question – what is my life about? It is also a must read for those who did not ask this question – it tells them why they should ask such a question.
December 29, 2013
4 out of 5 stars.
This is a wonderfully engaging first novel that works on multiple levels. It’s a clever story, well-told. It took me two days to read, because I had to stop to sleep. Although it’s 475 pages, the format makes them somewhat shorter than traditional print.
One point: the first two sentences are a confusing mixture of tenses. Don’t let them stop you. You won’t miss them. When you get to the end and find yourself returning to the opening page, they’ll be even more confusing, but you’ll understand what they were supposed to do.
Found on Powell’s Books!
- carolghes, September 26, 2013 (view all comments by carolghes)
Just got done reading this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s one of those “anti-gravity” books – you can’t put it down (ha). Don’t want to give away any of the story but it is entertaining, funny, touching, intense, gut-wrenching, suspenseful, gets into deep issues about living life, informative about world events. I love it when I read a book and I’m sorry that it has to end because it’s so enjoyable. The story flows well and you get totally absorbed in it.