In a Massachusetts college town, ancient letters inscribe a dilapidated colonial: Delta Zeta Chi. Cross the litter-strewn lawn and follow the sound of virtual gunfire to find a group of friends shooting the breeze. Among them stands Nutella, the Apollonian Chapter president; Oprah, the effeminate reader; Five-Hour, Buckhunter, Pizza Hut, and the girl they call God. The house might appear cramped, but the brothers know that to be inside is everything.
Fraternity celebrates the debauched kinship of boys straddling adolescence and adulthood: the drunken antics, elaborate posturing, and solemn confessions that mark their first years away from home. Beneath each tender episode lies the dread of exclusion. The closeted Oprah’s hero worship gives way to real longing. A navy veteran advises on new initiation strategies, revealing an uneasy kinship between hazing and torture. And the shadow of assault hovers over every sexual encounter.
Voiced by an off-kilter chorus of the young and desperate to belong, Benjamin Nugent’s provocative collection yanks the fraternity door off its hinges, daring us to peer inside with amusement, horror, and also with love.