Random House, 1996
Somewhere between the Bronx shoreline and the tip of Manhattan is Turnaway, an uncharted island inhabited solely by an elderly German-Jewish doctor and his young ward, Elias Hutchinson, who fancies himself to be the last surviving descendant of a decimated Native American tribe. When a weekend sailor, Ben Givens – a cynical, embittered shipwreck of a man – washes up on their beach after a freak storm, this fanciful kingdom is subtly disrupted, altering its peaceful balance of man, nature, and dreams. Prompted by Givens, Elias leaves his cloistered existence to undertake a perilous journey of temptation to midtown, where his search for the redemptor of his people undermines his gentle faith in his own invulnerability.
Praise for Turnaway
“Browner’s first novel was a savage satire of modern life. His second, more meditative, is nonetheless a powerful, ingenious work, further evidence that a writer of considerable talent has emerged.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Turnaway is, in its historical aspects, an enthralling book… Jesse Browner writes well. There is hardly a limit to what he might someday achieve.” — D. Keith Mano, The New York Times
“Browner pulls off the audacious feat of creating a wickedly comic tale that's also a heartfelt paean to the glories of friendship and nostalgia, and to the mythmaking impulse in us all.” — Publishers Weekly