After years of work and worship in a rural Tennessee evangelical congregation, pastor Asher Sharp begins to doubt his faith when he alone offers help to a local gay couple in the wake of a devastating flood, leading to a crisis in his marriage and a sudden separation from his only son. Unwilling to let Justin live with his mother, Asher absconds with his son to Key West in search of his estranged brother, Luke.
Southernmost is a well-crafted work that is both emotionally and philosophically resonant. Using detailed imagery and rich dialogue, House allows readers to witness how the transformation of one’s moral foundations, no matter how noble, can disrupt a person’s sense of community and security ... Southernmost is a remarkable meditation on faith, morality, loss and love—a transcendent work that has the power to entertain, educate and heal at the same time.
A journey of self-discovery, Southernmost dives into the familiar, troubled waters of toxic religion and masculinity to rescue a story of love between men—fathers, sons, brothers, and lovers. House deftly shows there’s no place insulated from a necessary confrontation with the past. Plumbing the depths of love and judgment, this novel is surprising in the places it’ll take you. It’s an unflinching yet generous portrait of rural America that’s honest, refreshing, and complex.
His storytelling is rich, but also spare, with descriptive passages that engage all five senses without overstating the profundity. And his characters are so complicated and real that it’s a shame to have to put the book down. References to indie music, viral videos, and antigay county clerk Kim Davis place the book in context and may grease the wheels of some good book-group discussion. Most of all, Southermost is a reminder that life is hard, and it is beautiful.