This novel is about a prison called “Falconer” and not about a falconer. So it’s not about a boy and his hawk, which I thought was possible, or a metaphor for a loss of center or control in the world ala an allusion to “The Second Coming” by Yeats, which I also thought.
Nor does it remind me much of John Cheever’s short fiction, of which I have read a fair amount.
Also, I had a student years ago who really liked a John Cheever story we read for class, and she was a religious girl who asked me for more John Cheever, and I was like sure…here’s a copy of the Wapshot books, his stories, and Falconer. I know she read this book and she told me she liked it but it was weird. So cool.
This book talks about blowjobs and penises and prison sex a lot! And I gave it to a high school senior who was very religious! And she told me she liked the book!
So yeah, this book is a kind of laconic rumination on prison life through the narrative of a recovering drug addict who accidentally killed his brother. His marriage falls apart and because he’s relatively smart and educated he’s called the professor and because he’s in prison and cut off from society he turns inwards, tries to discover things about himself, begins a relationship with a man (a fellow inmate), and figures out a few ways to exist in the world. And because there’s life after prison, he actually seems to straighten himself out.