The Life I Lead: A Novel

Front Cover
Knopf, 1999 - Fiction - 261 pages
4 Reviews
A stunning debut novel about obsessional passion and a morally ambiguous love, about an upstanding family man in an Indiana town who finds himself caught in the grip of desire for a young boy.
Dave Brewer, married to Tara--they have an eighteen-month-old daughter--is a meter reader for Indiana Gas. He helps his ailing father. He drives a bus for the Norris Road Baptist Church. He enjoys a good round of golf. He has everything he wants: family, community, a steady job. Until one day at a public pool, he sees a boy, a quiet loner, in whom he sees himself.
The boy, Nathan, has cut his foot at the pool. Something in his scared, innocent eyes awakens a powerful compassion in Dave that gradually emerges as something more: an obsession both physical and spiritual ("I feel what I feel for him in the back of my mouth, in the muscles in my hands").
As his interest in Nathan evolves from sympathy to love, Dave can no longer deny the complexity of his feelings--he desires Nathan at the same time that he wants to save him. His feelings for the boy--summoning up a crucial, long-forgotten memory from his own boyhood--propel him into the crisis of his life.
What happens is told in a shocking but fully human story of the power of love and the fragility of innocence.

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Review: The Life I Lead

User Review  - Kathleen O'Nan - Goodreads

This very sad book tells of 2 generations of pedophiles and the forces that lead them into the lives they lead. Hard to read because the content is very graphic and strong. Read full review

Review: The Life I Lead

User Review  - Benjamin Lettuce Treuhaft - Goodreads

This gruesome tale of man/boy antics and the violent neglect that engenders them has scenes that make you cry not only because you see what it's like to be fucked up by a pervert but also what it must ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Keith Banner received his M.F.A. in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His stories have appeared in The Kenyon Review and other literary magazines. He lives in Cincinnati, where he is a social worker for the mentally handicapped. The Life I Lead is his first novel.

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