In Glass Boys, brothers Roy and Lewis Trench get mixed up with Eli Fagan when they come upon him disposing of a secret and Roy ends up dead. Although judged as an accident in the courts, guilt swarms the remaining characters and it affects the way their lives unfold.
Lewis goes on to have two boys, Toby and Melvin, which brings back memories of his childhood with Roy. At the same time, Eli marries and becomes stepfather to Garrett Glass, who Eli deems “as unnatural as a beast with two assholes.” Garrett is awkward, self-conscious and worn. He never manages to fit in and gets bullied often by the kids at school and Eli alike. Eli is downright cruel to Garrett and imagines “squeezing the boy’s head, his thumbs bursting through the tight skin, sinking into the yellow filth.”
Garrett grows up with a hatred for himself. He has sexual thoughts about other boys and on feeling guilty wants to mutilate himself, sometimes contemplates suicide. He finds it hard quenching “the thirsty current” within him and asks “Is I full of sin, God?” As the story progresses, Garrett gets mixed up with Toby and Melvin, and the past comes back to haunt all of them in surprising ways.
Glass Boys by Nicole Lundrigan is about a group of men whose lives intertwine in various unsettling ways and the result is a story of regret, abuse, rebirth and freedom that is undoubtedly Lundrigan’s best book to date.