Jackson Jacoby, a twenty-two year old boy without a mother of his own finds a plea in a newspaper from a woman, begging for her runaway son to return home. He calls, pretends to be the son, and embarks on a journey to visit this mother, spreading to strangers along the way tales of his participation in the human appendage trade, the history of his missing ear, and anything else that might validate his life like, he discovers, the love of a mother could.
“Brilliant…one of the most amazing fiction concepts I’ve ever read.”
“In Torch, Caleb J. Ross writes fearlessly, never shying away from the wild, insane places where his fertile imagination leads him. The first half a twisted take on small-town aimlessness, the second half the American road novel from hell, the book is ultimately a darkly comedic evaluation of a generation of motherless men.”
“A stirring novel, this extraordinary work plays upon the reader’s willingness to suspend disbelief and turns it on its ear. From the opening imagery set in the incinerator of a beef packing plant through a visit to a roadside museum of body parts through a seemingly interminable trek from a nondescript small town in the middle of the country to Delaware, the novel chronicles the encounters of a narrator who can’t keep his story straight with a cast of drifters many of whom are obsessed in finding their long-lost mothers. The narrator, Jackson Jacoby, tells anyone who will listen the story of how he lost his ear in a childhood torch accident. His storytelling, curiosity, and occasional empathy make him a compelling character. However, he is also prone to unpredictable turns of vandalism and cruelty. In a story he retells often (with slight differences in each new telling), he describes stealing an ear from a sleeping truck driver named Marion Garza and then attempting to sell it. In another example of Jackson’s deviant behavior, he impersonates a runaway in phone calls to the boy’s mother who is desperate for her son to come home. The mother, eager to believe she’s speaking to her son, plays along with Jackson’s ruse. The novel casts a similar spell on its readers.
Covering ground similar to the works of Sherman Alexie and Chuck Palahniuk, this is an author worth keeping an eye on.”