Idyllic setting
A priest molests
Parents conspire
Mobsters appear
Avenging angels descend, and
Montaup’s brutal-colonial past reawakens

Reaching Montaup needs a bold agent to represent an unconventional 90,000-word-novel about 12-year-old Jate Tavino’s quest for perspective.

Jate’s heartfelt mythology is set in a coastal world populated by richly developed characters and coming-of-age circumstances; specifically, the sexual violation of Jate’s pal, Pedro “Pruney” Mendoza.

Pruney’s situation—presented both ambiguously and clearly—results in an ever-emerging hope for the balance that is often gained amid life’s contrary forces.

The first-person narrative articulates human nature with distinctive temperament by frequently blending regional dialect, adolescent malaprops, poetic prose, witty humor, shocking violence, and transcendent empathy.

Reaching Montaup is adult literary fiction.

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When a young boy is molested by a local priest, parents conspire, mobsters appear, an avenging angel from Providence descends and Montaup’s brutal colonial past reawakens.

In the Rhode Island backwater town of Sowams at the base of Mount Hope—or Montaup—a childhood traffic accident has rendered Jate Tavino skull-plated, growth-stunted, and rattled-up good.

As an adolescent, Jate doesn’t match the mental prowess of his non-identical twin brother Ross, or the physical stamina of his streetwise pal, Pruney Mendoza. Both Pruney and Ross lament, “Jate don’t get things.” But Jate gets far more than people realize, and he writes it all down: a colorfully distorted regional history, hotly debated literature, ethnic-religious rituals, tales of the dead, and “hush-hush cross-your-heart” secrets of the living.

Heartbreaking, scandalous, hilarious, and wise, Jate’s distinctive narrative unabashedly embraces Rhode Island vernacular, endearing characters, engaging circumstances, and powerful contemporary issues.

For a fifty page preview,
Read Excerpts now.


Due to a traffic accident, Jate, the 12-year-old narrator, is slower than his twin. Eventually, these siblings and their buddies discover forbidden pleasures. The story then takes a darker turn that changes their lives forever.

“A challenging and uncompromising book.”


reaching: nautical term; to sail forward in a crosswind
montaup: Native American word meaning “rock shore”

A priest exploits sacramental confessions, adults conspire, mobsters appear, an angel descends, and — with similarity to Montaup’s colonial past – the wrath of Providence is publicly displayed.

Enlightened by an Easter Sunday perspective, a group of boys must then survive a New England blizzard, raging bigots, an identity crisis, vengeful mobsters, impending police scrutiny, and maybe, the capable navigation of future adversities; or, the ability to always be “reaching Montaup,” sailing past life’s rocky shores.

The setting: mid-1960s. A small New England town at the base of Rhode Island’s legendary Mount Hope. Or, “Montaup.”


1965: Sowams, Rhode Island — the rocky shores of Montaup, the seat of the once reigning Wampanoag Indian Nation — Jate Tavino comes of age when he discovers his twin brother is gay, his best friend has been raped, and his father is complicit in revenge and possibly murder.

Due to a childhood traffic accident, the simplest abstractions challenge, “plate-in-the-head” Jate who attempts to regain clarity through writing.

Ambitious readers will likely discover. Reconstructing. A. Shattered life. Means. Dealing. In. Bits. And. Pieces.




With things.

Not necessarily elegant prose.

This “out of joint” style is very much consistent with the novel’s overall theme and the Wampanoag word, montaup, which means rocky shores. And similar to those rocky shores that both nurture life and often impede progress, the prose reflects the land and seascapes which includes graceful stretches of sand, beautiful but dangerous marshes, and of course, the deceptive nature of rivers, bays, and people.

All in all, the novel is about both the destruction and the reconstruction of people’s lives as reflected by the disruptive prose that functions very much like impressionist art; not an exact replication of a thing, but rather, the impression of the thing itself.

Through Jate’s “distracted globe” he seeks the perspective to understand the troubling experiences of his “queer” artistic, twin brother Ross, and their sexually violated pal, Pedro “Pruney” Mendoza-Mendez.

Two faux Swamp Yankees also figure prominently in this Shakespearean-Melvillean, Manet-Monet quest for “praspective.” Wise Gil Owen, an alleged homosexual. And salted-sage Mista Cogg, who — when intoxicated — vehemently objects to any “gottdamn Sodmite.” 

Jate’s nurturing mom and dad are ever present, always concerned, and fully invested. 

Some additional characters both complement and complicate things: a gang of boys, a lag of indigents, a Roman Catholic priest, a pair of local bookies, and a providential specter.

From Providence.

The classically structured plot progresses through thirty chapters and is sub-divided into five books:


Each successive book diminishes chapters but increases suspense.

The action turns during Holy Saturday Easter Vigil when Jate and the local Portuguese Catholic congregation witness the horrific wrath of “angels.”

On Easter Sunday morning, traumatized Jate understands metaphor for the first time. Jate connects the nautical term “reaching” i.e. cruising a boat forward in a crosswind, with his own need to sail past “life’s rocky shores.”

Renewed by this Paschal “praspective,” Jate and Ross must deal with a New England blizzard, raging bigots, an identity crisis, mobsters, impending police scrutiny, and future adversities.

When all is said and done, Jate determines, one must always be “reaching Montaup.”

Advanced readers are saying:

“Heartbreaking, scandalous, hilarious and wise …”

“Jate’s rendition is all our lives. And that rendition is sometimes otherworldly. Which gives the whole thing its skewed power.”

“Rich characters, deep sense of place, true vernacular, poetic, humorous, and how can you not fall in love with the main character?”

“… a new death tale emerges reaching across the boundaries of anger, paralysis, prejudice, and despair.”

“…an eloquent voice…and a beautifully observed world…”

The novel’s title and maturation theme are best summed up in an unrelated August 8, 2014, NYT Op-Ed by David Brooks:

Maturity is moving from the close-up to the landscape, focusing less on your own supposed strengths and weaknesses and more on the sea of empathy in which you swim, which is the medium necessary for understanding others, one’s self, and survival.

Reaching Montaup is adult literary fiction.