Hickman's true first was Rituals: Poems and Prose, preceded by the poetry chapbook The Language of Mirrors. But it is his first book in more than a decade, and it is self-published – the press is named after the 25-acre farm where he and his partner raise livestock and run a bed and breakfast. The title is apt: the prose style is bracing, lyrical, preacherly, impressionistic, at times almost incantatory, rolling with the cadence of a compelling queer sermon. Hickman's memoir tells of his years-long search for his birth mother; what happens when they finally connect; how his strictly Seventh-Day Adventist birth mother Jennifer blames his homosexuality on how his laissez-faire Lutheran mother raised him; how his three biological sisters feel about him; and what happens when Hickman's adoptive family – and his Dutch lover Job – join his birth family for a reunion at the Georgia home where his grandmother – the matriarch who forced his birth mother to put him up for adoption – lives. There's a lot of adoption literature around, but few such memoirs match Fumbling Towards Divinity's flair for examining the madness and sadness and shame and satisfaction around digging up one's roots. Woven through the story of Hickman's search is a parallel story – his romance with lover Job is threatened by the Dutch man's family and a close friend, who are trying to subvert their relationship: lots of drama, detailed with heartfelt honesty in this exquisite book.
by Richard Labonte, Books to Watch Out For
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