Shirts and Skins
In the first novel by the author of short fiction in publications such as Chelsea Station, Tupperware Sandpiper, and Zeugma Literary Journal, a young man growing up in contemporary times on the wrong side of Hamilton, an industrial city in southwestern Ontario. Luscombe describes Josh Moore’s wanting to escape from the downtrodden, dirty area in which he lives while he is continually beaten each time he seems to be getting ahead in a rollercoaster of triumphs and setbacks. Josh wants a better life that of his family as his father gambles away the rent money earned at the local steel mills.
Although he succeeds in high school college-track classes, Josh ends up at the steel mill, only to become injured. Even returning to college on a career track of computers doesn’t get him out of the hole he keeps sliding down.
In the depths of despair, standing outside looking in, Josh touches the hearts of those who have lost their way to their dreams and aspirations. His inability to find himself finally leads to an epiphany of his hidden, yet acknowledged, desires and the reasons for his past.
The novel is written through a series of vignettes rather than a chronological approach as Josh finds himself. Although the gay content is minimal, there are graphic descriptions of heterosexual encounters.
Recommended for adult fiction collections.