Trouble Finds You: A Novel

Trouble Finds You: A Novel

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Author: Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Publisher: Fonograf Editions (2023)

To say Harry Stables’s life has hit a bit of a low patch lately is an understatement. In his mid-20s, he’s been kicked out of his MFA program for fighting, his ex-girlfriend turned down his spur-of-the-moment marriage proposal, and he’s spent the last ten days in his dad’s falling-down Montana fishing cabin with his dog Greta trying to find out how his mother really died when he was a baby, something his father – now dying himself of cancer – has refused to tell either him or his sister their whole lives. On top of all this, he’s just been to a party outside Missoula where he received a nasty dog bite and where he may have been an accessory to a fatal shooting. Ignoring the advice of both his sister and Calvin Hogan – fishing guide, old friend of his father’s, and companion to the lovable mutt Herkimer – Harry first tries to untangle the details of the shooting himself and eventually winds up on the lam, pursued by persecutors both real and imagined. As the cops and the accumulated psychic weight of his actions bears down on him, Harry must ultimately reckon with what sort of man he will be.

According to George Saunders, “literature is a form of fondness-for-life. It is love for life taking verbal form” and so it is with Trouble Finds You, a modern-day Portis-like quixotic road trip replete with stumbling beauty and searing folly. Set against the beauty of the American West, this is a novel of many colors: a thriller, a mystery, a coming-of-age story, and a family drama. It is populated with characters – these men and their excellent dogs – who are sometimes frustrating, frequently stupid, often funny, but always full of life. Harry Stables bears more than a passing resemblance to the Coen brothers’ Llewyn Davis, a lovable curmudgeon committed to a quest of his own design.