Lunging into the Underbrush: A Life Lived Backward

David Homel

April 2021

In 1970, David Homel escaped the American draft by moving to Paris. But a hiking accident in Spain led to a harrowing journey through botched surgeries, opiate addiction, the loneliness of a crippled traveler, and the constant pain that would define his life for years to come. Today, planning to stay in the game as long as possible, he has a few ideas about how to do just that.

By confronting body image issues, performance anxiety, and the challenges of desire, Homel draws an affecting portrait of the battle between Eros and Melancholy. Which one will prevail in this story we call our lives?


David Homel was born in Chicago in 1952 and left in 1970 for Paris, living in Europe the next few years on odd jobs and odder couches. He has published eight novels, from Electrical Storms in 1988 to The Teardown, which won the Paragraph Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 2019. He has also written young adult fiction with Marie-Louise Gay, directed documentary films, worked in TV production, been a literary translator, journalist, and creative writing teacher. Lunging into the Underbrush is his first book of non-fiction. He lives in Montreal.

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Format: Trade paper

Size: 8 x 5 in.

Pages: 247

What they say
"A remarkable, intimate, and deeply reflective memoir"
Irwin Block, Senior Times

Opposition to the U.S. War in Vietnam and the conscription of young men to sustain it rattled the foundations of American life in the late 1960s and early 1970s and led  thousands of them, including Chicago-born David Homel, to settle in Canada.

Recollections of those turbulent times is the kicking off point for Homel’s first non-fiction book, a remarkable, intimate, and deeply reflective memoir of his teenaged years in his home town and his eventually settling in Montreal, raising a family, and establishing himself as a successful novelist, literary translator, and creative writing teacher.

The son of a Jewish family of modest means, young David was determined to resist the draft and found a way out by accessing the classification known as Draft Board 000, revealed to him by a draft counselor. This little-known escape hatch for American college students to study abroad was tailored, Homel notes, for the sons of industrialist, diplomats, and military personnel, and, as he says with a sarcastic wink, “ just the kind of young men not to be found in the jungles of Nam.”
Read more.
February 2021, The Senior Times

Hot off the press!

If I have to age, I hope I do it the way David Homel has: kicking and screaming and laughing at the demons. In Lunging, he reminds us that aging is just another word for growing, and that to grow is to remain vitally alive.
––Wayne Grady, Up From Freedom

David Homel is on fire again. This ripping memoir is a philosophical review of a life lived intensely, as Homel attempts to uncover the life that he has lived. Lunging into the Underbrush is so fascinating it almost reads like a thriller.
––Brian Brett, Trauma Farm

Homel is proposing a new definition of aging, and his book takes a most surprising turn when it looks into the sexuality of people as they grow older.



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