Shoal Creek author J. William Lewis’ debut novel, “The Essence of Nathan Biddle,” may remind readers of J.D. Salinger’s famed novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” according to BookPage.
Lewis, born in Chickasaw, grew up in Mobile and attended Spring Hill College, where he was a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, editor-in-chief of the literary magazine The Motley and recipient of the Merihl Award.
He received his juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law and served on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review.
Following a clerkship for Justice Walter P. Gewin of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, he practiced law in Birmingham for more than 35 years. He now serves as executive officer of his family’s investment company, Seaman Capital LLC, and its related companies.
In Lewis’ coming-of-age tale, the novel’s protagonist, Kit Biddle, is a rising prep school senior who finds himself tangled in a web of spiritual quandaries and intellectual absurdities.
Biddle’s angst is compounded by a psychological burden he is forced to carry. His intelligent but unstable Uncle Nat has committed an unspeakable act on what, according to the uncle’s deranged account, were direct orders from God.
The tragedy haunting his family follows Kit like a dark and foreboding cloud, exacerbating his already compulsive struggle with existential questions about the meaning of his life.
Through darkness, the protagonist is forced to confront his own issues and allow these explorations to lift him from his despair.
Lewis’ debut novel was released on June 1. It is published by Greenleaf Book Group and is available on Amazon and in book stores.