So Many True Believers gives voice to the wanton, the restless, and those hellbent on self-destruction. The Nat Mota School for at-risk youth is the nexus of Tyrone Jaeger's spiraling narrative; loosed from it is an array of characters yearning, raging, and chasing down their misguided dreams. There is Jeremy, mourning the loss of his girlfriend to a UFO cult; Harold, the betrayed husband exploring intimacy in unfamiliar waters; and Ginny, the teenage runaway hiding out with a band of video-obsessed squatters. Mystery, magic, and gritty realism are coiled against a backdrop of failed relationships and addictions in this darkly humorous debut collection depicting the frayed edges of the American psyche.
Tyrone Jaeger’s So Many True Believers is a sharp-edged, poignant and often ingeniously funny collection of interrelated stories that follow various characters associated with Denver’s sordid underbelly and the Nat Mota School for at-risk youth. The title story sets the tone with a quirky romance between a young teacher, Jeremy, and an actress who believes herself destined to depart for an alternative world. We see Jeremy again in “These Are My Arms,” years later, when he inadvertently helps his students produce an off-color movie. One of the great joys of this collection is the subtle way in which the stories interact – with characters from one piece appearing obliquely in others, creating the rich and textured life of a community. A first-rate debut collection.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.