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Potomac Books


Falling Room, Falling Room, 0803273649, 0-8032-7364-9, 978-0-8032-7364-1, 9780803273641, Eli Hastings, American Lives, Falling Room, 0803205449, 0-8032-0544-9, 978-0-8032-0544-4, 9780803205444, Eli Hastings, American Live

Falling Room
Eli Hastings

2006. 180 pp.
$17.95 t

Coming of age poor in spirit in the America of plenty is an old story that is yet endlessly new, beginning afresh every time a confused teenager tries to make sense of his privileged place in the world. Eli Hastings got a head start on this when his idealistic, permissive parents divorced, and he sought answers by sneaking out at night to play chicken with freight trains, write graffiti, and get high with friends. This youthful rebellion included an arrest and weekend in jail for drug possession and later jail for an act of civil disobedience during the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. Hastings recounts how a privileged, white, fiercely leftist American male tries to make sense of himself in relation to the contrary people and situations he finds in books and his travels to Cuba and Central America.

Falling Room is the tale of how one man matures through the sometimes violent blessing of social change and finds himself--and a sense of purpose--through the loss of innocence and naiveté. Reflecting on the firsthand experience of hip-hop and substance abuse, of the fracturing of family, the loss of his father, and of the imperialism of the United States, Hastings’s story offers a new and moving look at how families, nations, and individuals survive and heal.

Eli Hastings is a Seattle native who now lives in Barcelona, Spain. He received an mfa in creative nonfiction from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and has published in numerous literary journals. He has worked in food service and retail sales, as a creative writing teacher and a manual laborer, as a Get-Out-the-Vote coordinator and a health care and utilities campaign coordinator.

"Falling Room is musical. It is worldly. It is intimate and concerned. Again and again I was impressed by the great democracy and tenderness in these pages, by these essays' remodeling of the urban and the pastoral, by their revelation of landscapes disparate and glaring. I finished feeling I’d been party to a mad and jubilant trip. A writer like Eli Hastings gives me hope in many things."—Brad Land, author of Goat: A Memoir

"In Falling Room, Eli Hastings moves beyond mere anger to write with a passion that fuses pain and tenderness, anger and sympathy. I emerged out the other side of this immensely readable book bruised but full of wild hope."—Sebastian Matthews, author of In My Father’s Footsteps

"Time and again I came across passages that just floored me—images that were so vivid and right that they catapulted me right to the scene of the story, turns of phrases that captured some elemental truth about the way things are, the way people think and behave."—Philip Gerard, author of Cape Fear and Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life

"[Falling Room] is a book about the origin of protest—about finding, challenging, understanding, and ultimately forgiving the father and the fatherland. It’s full of tremendous talent, beauty, and energy."—Sarah Messer, author of Bandit Letters and Red House

“One might expect the memoir of a 29-year-old to be brashly confident, brimming with the sense that the author’s life is full of meanings that lesser lights would do well to heed. Eli Hastings has written a more interesting thing, a self-effacing memoir that attests to the difficulty of knowing the truth of one’s own experience.”—

“Each piece resonates with alternating sincerity, humor, and wonder; each is an integral episode in Hastings’ quest for understanding political differences at home and abroad, as well as the personal disparity between his childhood and his adult life….Falling Room, too, manages to embrace this exploratory spirit throughout its pages, fusing collection through a voice that is hopeful, yet unsentimental, and always seeking answers.”—Jackson Brown, Indiana Review

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