The novel takes the reader on a tour of a not-too-distant American past, when fear was weaponized and righteous rage boiled over. Smyer’s debut explores themes of the self in chaos; the prose is clean as bone and the anger is focused and piercing.
By itself, isolated on this plywood,
among this puzzle of foregone possibilities,
his intact head seems to want affection.
Without knowing that I will do it,
I reach out and scratch his jaw,
and I stroke him behind his ears,
as if he might suddenly purr from his cooked head.
“If the voices I hear outside / my window cease I am kept / awake by a deeper silence / I cannot touch any more / than a woodpecker can withstand / its need for the sake of what / it receives”
The brilliance of Millennial Roost is Pearson’s ability to explore dark, difficult conversations, but with the consideration and wherewithal to do so without perpetuating pain.
So far their task has been simple. While a narrative might stray a bit in one telling, or embellish or neglect a detail in another, they’ve received and recorded the stories without substantial disagreement. But now, in this moment, a woman sits in front of the Grimm Brothers, telling them a story of siblinghood that offers a bit of concern.