The Other Joseph
Written by Skip Horack
Publication Date March 21, 2015
A masterful depiction of a life driven off the rails by tragedy and sin — a man now summoned by the legacy of a beloved, lost brother to embark on a journey in search toward understanding, happiness, and redemption.
Haunted by the disappearance of his older brother Tommy in the first Gulf War, the tragic deaths of his parents, and the felony conviction that has branded him for a decade, Roy Joseph has labored in lonesome exile — and under the ever-watchful eyes of the law—moving between oil rigs off the coast of Louisiana and an Airstream trailer he shares with his dog.
Then, on the cusp of his thirtieth birthday, Roy is contacted by a teenage girl from California claiming to be his lost brother’s biological daughter. Yearning for connection and the prospect of family, Roy embarks on a journey across America, visiting childhood haunts in the South to confront his troubled memories and history, and making a stop in Nevada to call on a retired Navy SEAL who may hold the answer to Tommy’s fate. The ultimate destination is San Francisco, where a potential Russian bride and his long-lost niece await, and Roy may finally recover the Joseph line.
With The Other Joseph, Skip Horack delivers a powerful, spellbinding tale of a man nearly defeated by life who is given one last chance at redemption — one last shot to find meaning and alter the course of his solitary existence.
Skip Horack is a former Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, where he was also a Wallace Stegner Fellow. His story collection The Southern Cross won the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Bakeless Fiction Prize, and his novel The Eden Hunter was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. A native of Louisiana, he is currently an assistant professor at Florida State University.
"A brilliant, gripping novel written with uncommon skill, The Other Joseph is a poignant and unflinching account of one man’s quest to rise above his mistakes, misfortunes, and circumstances — a novel that is as concerned with the search for answers as it is with matters of the heart and soul. The scope of Horack’s imagination, knowledge, and empathy astounds, and there are innumerable things to be both learned and felt within the pages of this remarkable book. My highest recommendation." Adam Johnson, author of Emporium, Parasites Like Us, and The Orphan Master’s Son
"The Other Joseph is a clear and melancholy tale of a broken man pulled at by a lost brother and an elusive future. It’s a tale about what we can make of ourselves from the remnants. Roy Joseph knows he won’t be forgiven for his past, but he struggles anyway to become a good man, and to connect with others his brother has left behind. The power of the novel is its great empathy and drive for redemption. Horack’s writing is clear and evocative, and his observations about America, from the Gulf Coast to Nevada to California, linger long after the book is finished. We all know America is lost, but in The Other Joseph, Horack offers a more generous vision of what might be salvaged." David Vann, author of Legend of a Suicide and Caribou Island
"Intensely grounded in a world of oil rigs, American landscapes, and ocean, The Other Joseph is a compelling, suspenseful meditation on brotherly love and family longing in a disintegrating world." Thomas McGuane, author of Nothing but Blue Skies and Driving on the Rim
"Memorable characters live on every page . . . Bracketed by stunning revelations, Horack’s luminous tale offers perceptive insights about the elemental connections of family." Kirkus
"With every book, Skip Horack proves that he is utterly fearless, not only in terms of structure and ambition, but also in the way he can push a sentence to be so entirely spot-on, so perfect, that his books become pointillistic, composed of a subtle emotional gradations from one line to the next, only to finish in a stunningly sophisticated whole. I read The Other Joseph with pleasure: it is big, tough, and ravishing, a ghost story in the voice of a lost brother, an elegy with the ache and grace of deeply lived life in it." Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton, Delicate Edible Birds, and Arcadia
"The Other Joseph is a poignant and sly magic trick of a book, one that reveals almost all its secrets immediately, only to spend the rest of its surprisingly suspenseful pages making us wonder what really has been revealed." San Francisco Gate
"It’s a gorgeous book, brilliant and heartbreaking and funny, with characters so well drawn they were impossible to get out of my mind. I can’t remember the last time I read a contemporary novel that had such an instant feel of a classic." The Rumpus
"exciting, well-plotted" Publishers Weekly
"I absolutely was enthralled by this novel … It does what the best novels do--it makes you think about the world, and family, and legacy, differently. It changes you." Caroline Leavittville Blog