The Other Joseph
Written by Skip Horack
Publication Date March 07, 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 of 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 oilrigs 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.
The Other Joseph is a powerful, spellbinding tale of a man nearly defeated by life 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, Horak 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