2011 American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in Literature
Lambda Literary Award Finalist Gay Debut Fiction
Andy Nocera is on probation after being arrested for solicitation in a public rest room on Interstate 85. He’s taken refuge with his mother after being kicked out by his wife and is forced to take a job traveling the country selling display shelving after being fired by his father-in-law. The ‘highlight’ of his week is his court-mandated counseling session with his psychiatrist who also happens to be ordained as a Jesuit priest. Resistant at first, he gradually surrenders to his counselor’s persistent probing as they search for clues in his boyhood and early married years to explain why he risked his seemingly perfect life for an anonymous sexual encounter.
One year of therapy with no more arrests and the State of North Carolina will expunge Andy’s record. But he’s having a hard time coping without the unconditional support of his wife, who’s moved on to a new relationship, and his mother, who’s been diagnosed with an aggressive lymphoma. Failing every attempt to start a new life as an openly gay man, he begins to spiral into anger and depression, alienating everyone close to him, until he finally discovers that rescuing another lost soul is the means to his own redemption.
Outstanding Praise For Probation
“Thoughtful, textured, and poignant . . . [A]n exciting, impressive debut. Written in an honest voice that’s both dully depressed and acutely, emotionally observant, the prose is compellingly painful yet frequently funny, as well. There are many moments of lyrical beauty, plus enough cinematic twists and turns to keep readers anxiously racing through the chapters (though they are best when savored).”
- Time Out New York
“An engaging, witty debut.”
- The Advocate
“This is Tom Mendicino’s first novel and I hope it won’t be his last. He writes with honesty, humor, and aversion to sen- timentality that makes you believe every minute of his narra- tor’s journey of occasional self-destructive self-discovery.”
- K. M. Soehnlein, author of The World of Normal Boys
“Probation is the rare novel that dares to take the reader on a journey through the dark night of the soul. An unflinch- ing look at the dark side of self-discovery, it is ultimately a story of transformation and the worlds of possibilities hid- den within each of us.”
- Michael Thomas Ford, author of Last Summer
"If you're looking for a smart, engaging, witty, sad and unusual book about the complicated nature of family and love, try Tom Mendicino's Probation. You'll be glad you did."”
- Bart Yates, author of THE BROTHERS BISHOP and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US
"If David Sedaris were cast as Willy Loman, it might sound something like Probation. Andy, a sharp-tongued travelling salesman, gives us the life events that led to his being taken away in handcuffs, and the hilarious and agonizing self-inquiry that follows. Snarky yet profound, it is a bold examination of the destructive effects of a life spent in the closet, reported with a Carolina twang."
- Vestal McIntyre, author of LAKE OVERTURN
“An enlightening, well-written tale.”
- Instinct Magazine
“A potent debut.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Part coming-out story, part family drama, Probation re- minds us how common we all are. Rarely has the dark night of the soul been so compellingly captured.”
- Out Smart