Underburn: A Novel (Hardcover)
Iris Flynn is an acerbic, self-sufficient seventy-three-year-old widow with a minor Hollywood career in her past and some streamlined kitchen cabinets inspired by Marie Kondo. Her composed and simplified existence is disrupted when her son Frank lands on her doorstep after his rental home is destroyed in a wildfire, the latest in a string of personal setbacks for Frank. He arrives with Logan, his young and handsome boyfriend, a featured extra on a teen soap opera with a loyal Instagram following.
Soon, news from her estranged family in Maine forces everyone out of their comfort zone. Iris convinces Frank and Logan to travel with her to the potato farm from where she made a quick getaway fifty years earlier, unleashing a funny and poignant family saga about secrets, forgiveness, and the fluctuating map of the human heart.
An extraordinary story about family resilience, missed connections and second chances that assures us it’s sometimes okay to create our own Hollywood endings.
About the Author
Bill Gaythwaite’s short fiction has appeared in Subtropics, Chicago Quarterly Review, Puerto Del Sol, december, Solstice, and many other publications. Bill’s work can also be found in the anthologies Mudville Diaries: A Book of Baseball Memories and Hashtag Queer: LGBTQ+ Creative Anthology, vols. 1 and 2. Bill has worked at Columbia University since 2006, where he was on the staff of the Committee on Asia and the Middle East. He is currently the Assistant Director of Special Populations at Columbia Law School. Bill grew up in Boston and raised his son in New York City and its suburbs. An avid swimmer, movie aficionado and football fan, he lives in New Jersey with his partner, Tom. He has been writing stories since he was six years old. Underburn is Bill’s debut novel.
“?A wonderfully engaging tale of both family and the underside of fame, Bill Gaythwaite’s debut novel Underburn mirrors the deceptive richness of the very generational ties it so charmingly explores: the long memories, conflicts big and small, surprisingly pivotal moments, and rediscovered bonds. One rarely encounters characters drawn with such candor, warmth, and humanity: you will gladly cheer and care for everyone as they seek to make peace with the past, while risking it all for a brand-new future.” — Natalie Jenner, author of the international bestseller The Jane Austen Society
"A poignant, funny, and timely family drama following the often-twisted paths we navigate toward understanding, reconciliation, and forgiveness." — Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
“A witty, heartfelt novel with endearing, imperfect characters who are impossible to resist, a deft examination of a family in flux.” — Kristyn Kusek Lewis, Contributing Books Editor, Real Simple
"A quirky family story told with wit and wisdom, with shades of Anne Tyler or Elizabeth Strout... a fine debut." — Kirkus Reviews
"In Underburn, Bill Gaythwaite gives us a mindful and compelling account of a family navigating the distances between generations—and coasts. An engaging and elegantly written novel." — David Leavitt, author of Shelter in Place