By Trebor Healey
Award-winning novelist Trebor Healey depicts San Francisco within the Eighties and '90s in poetic prose that's either ribald and poignant, and a crossing into the yank West that's dreamy, mythic, and visionary.
When afflicted twenty-one-year-old Seamus Blake meets the robust and self-possessed Jimmy (just arrived in San Francisco by means of bicycle from his native land in Buffalo, New York), he feels his lifestyles could eventually be taking a flip for the higher. however the resulting romance proves short-lived as Jimmy dies of an AIDS-related affliction. The grieving Seamus is obliged to maintain a promise to Jimmy: "Take me again the way in which I came."
And so Seamus units out by means of bicycle on a picaresque trip with the ashes, hoping to carry them again to Buffalo. He meets truck drivers, waitresses, university children, farmers, ranchers, Marines, and different travelers--each one giving him a brand new standpoint on his personal existence and on Jimmy's demise. whilst he meets and turns into concerned with a tender local American guy whose mom has lately died, Seamus's grief and his tale develop into common and redemptive.
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Hi,” used to be all I accredited myself to claim, thinking about tips to clarify to him how I knew Eugene. “Who are you? ” he acknowledged bluntly, with an expressionless demeanor. “I met Eugene in Eugene,” I replied, conscious as I acknowledged it of ways silly it sounded. “Good position for it,” he acknowledged with a clipped smile. i needed so as to add that Eugene and that i had fucked one another foolish in a frat apartment, and i couldn’t get him out of my mind—and that i used to be incredibly sorry for heritage, and all that— “And what are you doing out right here? ” he interrupted my racing recommendations. “On my strategy to Buffalo. ” “Ha, ha, ha. ” He laughed heartily. “You and me either. ” I didn’t get what used to be evidently one of those joke—I was once extra eager about hoping it used to be real. whilst I checked out Eugene, he didn’t appear to be in at the comic story both and simply stared blankly. Then there has been a silence, and the guy went again to paintings. So I provided: “You desire any aid? ” He lifted his head back, and this time, with a bit surliness, stated: “Why, you familiar with steer clear of immediately sixes? ” after all, I hadn’t a clue, and it it seems that confirmed. “Uh, no, probably not. ” “Not quite, huh? yet just a little? ” “Well, truly . . . ” He complete the sentence for me: “You don’t comprehend shit. ” He paused lengthy sufficient for me to think insulted. Then he all started guffawing: “Ha, ha, ha. ” He slammed the hood down, brushed by means of me, and opened the driver-side door. yet sooner than hopping into the cab, he paused abruptly and seemed carefully at my motorcycle, then in short at me—at first with suspicion after which with a far off glance in his eyes. Then he hopped in and became the ignition, and after a chee, chee, clump, clump, the engine stuck and roared. “Hop in, Smoke,” he referred to as to Eugene, and that i observed the man’s face framed within the rearview replicate gazing me. It used to be a glance of distrust. And why used to be he calling Eugene Smoke? What’s Smoke? Is there a city known as Smoke round the following, and should his identify switch from position to put? Will he be John Day by the point he reaches the subsequent city? Austin via suppertime? once they name him Buffalo, i assume I’ll comprehend my journey’s performed. Eugene or Smoke, or whoever he was once, kissed me speedy at the lips, grabbed carry of my motorcycle, which was once nonetheless leaning opposed to the soon-to be-departing truck, and held it out to me. Then he ran fast round to hop within the passenger part door, because the truck started rolling throughout the gravel. there has been a clunk, a backfire, until eventually ultimately the engine roared to existence back. after which it used to be Eugene’s face within the again window, smiling his crooked smile, getting smaller and smaller. i presumed momentarily to hop on my motorbike and trip like hell to capture as much as them. yet that may be futile. because it was once, they have been a portrait: the light, creamy blue truck on a bit upward thrust within the street less than colossal crimson and orange cliffs, with shadows slashing around the highway in entrance of them. orange males in a blue truck in an orange international scattered with gravel and dusty little blue and yellow plant life, flat sandy stretches, and a sunlight brilliant and searing, the rosy rocks spreading out for miles and ceaselessly round them.