“History is a funny thing,” Michael Wayte says in The End of Good Intentions. “We don’t always know what’s significant. We hardly ever know what’s significant. What was important then might not be so now; what’s important now might not be later.” Beginning with a fire and a gruesome incident of self-sacrifice, the novel presents a Christian college in transition, from its midcentury Presbyterian origins to a more strident and politicized Evangelicalism.
Set between the mid-1970s and today, the novel moves back and forth through the turbulence of recent American history, charting the course of characters such as Michael Wayte, the pre-ministerial student who becomes the owner of a foothill bar; Leah Green, the Jewish student who finds herself a stranger in a strange Christian environment; Walter Book, the gay English professor, who doesn’t know he’s gay; and Eivar Mortenson, whose actions at the beginning of the novel become the catalyst for all that is to come.
In The End of Good Intentions, David Borofka examines the gap between desire and emptiness, conviction and extremism, those who believe absolutely in the certitude of their perspective and those who live on the outer margins of doubt and uncertainty.
If David Borofka were, say, a studio guitarist, he would be equally adept at jazz, rock, hip hop, country, reggae, fado—you name it. In The End of Good Intentions, his first novel in more than twenty-five years, he proves himself a master of tone and mood, perfectly capable of making you laugh and cry on the same page, or even sometimes in the same paragraph. He writes with unfailing sympathy of people so radically different from each other than one wonders if he couldn’t also be a superb actor if he chose. Thank goodness that he has elected to reserve his formidable skills for those of us lucky enough to be his readers. The End of Good Intentions is a treasure. So is its author.”
—Steve Yarbrough, author of Stay Gone Days and The Unmade World
The End of Good Intentions is an uncommonly well-written collage of a novel whose ironies, humanity, and insights will urge you to piece it together. Borofka’s fearlessness and topflight voice are not to be missed.
—Mark Wish, Founding Editor of Coolest American Stories and author of Watch Me Go and Necessary Deeds
About the Author
David Borofka is the author of Hints of His Mortality, The Island, and A Longing for Impossible Things, and the winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, Missouri Review's Editor's Prize, Carolina Quarterly's Charles B. Wood Award, the Emerging Writers Network award, the Prism Review fiction prize, and Jabberwock Review’s Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize. Since his retirement from Reedley College in 2019, he has embarked on various obsessions beyond fiction: anxiously viewing Alabama football and insisting to anyone who will listen that Gizmo is, in actuality, his wife’s dog.