Recession. Unemployment. Student loan debt. Moving back home. This is the rude “welcome to adulthood” that college graduate Michael Reilly is striving to come to terms with—just like so many other Millennials.
Now living with his father and stepmother, the only work he can find is a part-time retail job at the local mall. With few prospects, a failed romance and nothing but time on his hands, alcohol is fast becoming his only source of comfort.
When his older brother is called back up to serve a third tour of duty in Iraq, Michael heads down to New Jersey to say goodbye—possibly for the last time—hoping to send his brother off with a wild weekend party. But his growing depression and frustration with his situation lead to dramatic and unexpected confrontations with his past—and his uncertain future.
“Take a road trip with Michael Reilly, the Holden Caulfield for today’s disillusioned Millennials. Slip Sliding Away vividly portrays a young poet’s risible & poignant post-graduate launch into life (a four-letter word), aided and abetted by family situations, sex, booze, and rock & roll.” — Kaye George, author, Eine Kleine Murder, the Imogene Duckworthy series and Death in the Time of Ice
“Sean Mulcahy’s debut novel is a hard-driving story fueled by the angst and honesty of Michael Reilly, a native New Jersey Millennial stuck in Vermont with his father and stepmother. Mulcahy presents a candid and distressing view of the pressures faced by new adults who played by the rules, only to discover that current economic and political realities no longer value those efforts.” — James M. Jackson, author, Seamus McCree series and One Trick at a Time: How to Start Winning at Bridge
These links were provided to online performances of the musical pieces mentioned in Slip Sliding Away by author Sean Mulcahy. If you’d like to get an feel of the mood suggested by each of them as you read the book, click the links and listen.
Life. A four letter word. Summer rain runs down my windowsill as dreary spring anoints a wet summer, steadily mystifying the Green Mountains. Familiar poses identify my state: an old notebook resting on my lap and my feet stretching limply into the basket of clothes I’ve neglected to fold. Two empty bottles of Bass Ale signal my downfall. As my eyes glaze around the room, and Blue Rondo a La Turk shuffles onto my iPod, I drift through dreams of Pulitzers and fame.
I’m in life-block, which is like writer’s block except that this mental malfeasance sucks the joy out of all existence. It’s pathetic—I’ve been struggling but find myself inconsolably uninspired, still waiting for the “right moment” to hit me as the beer bottles pile up. I call myself a poet, but the only ideas I come up with are infantile little jingles, quick and catchy. I try to hide meaning in the lyrics but they are as shallow and dirty as the puddle in my driveway. These jingles of mine are easier to compose than any serious attempts at writing.
I hoped the booze and daydreaming would calm my nerves for a few hours, but the elephant in the room is stamping its feet. Tomorrow I’ll be making the six-hour trip back to New Jersey on family business. I wouldn’t mind the hours by myself but meandering in and out of dreams while driving could certainly end badly. Wouldn’t that be ironic? A boy who spent life with his head in the clouds plummets back to earth at 75 mph. I wonder if they’d print that in my obit?
That reminds me… I want to be burned, not planted. I have no plans to become the mess hall for a bunch of free-loading maggots. Any friends and family that still remained would gather on a beach, do a shot of Irish
whiskey and cast a handful of my ashes into the water at sunset. I fully expect my people to mourn in the Irish tradition—and by that I mean get hammered.
Death permeates my thoughts these days. Aside from concern about my own mortality, I keep dreaming about a woman from my past, a woman I lost. And while it’s been many years now…
But no more of that. If I start telling her story again, I may very well tumble off the deep end.