By Trebor Healey

Award-winning novelist Trebor Healey depicts San Francisco within the Nineteen 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 stricken twenty-one-year-old Seamus Blake meets the powerful and self-possessed Jimmy (just arrived in San Francisco by means of bicycle from his fatherland in Buffalo, New York), he feels his existence could ultimately 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 best way I came."

And so Seamus units out by means of bicycle on a picaresque trip with the ashes, hoping to convey them again to Buffalo. He meets truck drivers, waitresses, collage youngsters, farmers, ranchers, Marines, and different travelers--each one giving him a brand new point of view on his personal existence and on Jimmy's loss of life. while he meets and turns into concerned with a tender local American guy whose mom has lately died, Seamus's grief and his tale turn into common and redemptive.

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All they'd used to be cherry-flavored in each one position, which I didn’t like. “Beggars can’t be choosers,” mother might have acknowledged. thank you, mother. regularly lending a supporting hand, even on suicide watch. I back with my booty to the hills, which acquired me considering Ricky, who used to be going to be mad at me for stealing his funds and pot. He may well also be there anticipating me, conjuring up whatever worse than loss of life through Robitussin. I didn’t are looking to endure. Ricky was once into black magic. in recent years, he’d been trying to curse numerous academics with hair-balls and such—and he’d all started conversing approximately ladies and the way shall we use sure candles to get them to love us. And correct then, as I crested the hill to discover he was once now not there, looking at out throughout our ritual circle of stones—sorry to have stolen from him and devastated that he was once attempting to conjure up girls—some different a part of my screeching, bird-fallen-out-of-its-nest middle cracked like a bit robin’s egg. i used to be in love with him. lifestyles was once so unhappy. convinced, like a nasty cough. I downed one bottle instantly up, laid again, and whimpered. Then i began at the moment, which made me believe profoundly nauseous. Down the hatch it went. Ten mins later, I barfed, which most likely kept my lifestyles. the 1st bottle took notwithstanding, as i began listening to voices: my mom calling my identify, ghostly: “Seamus. ” Oh shit. Then my very own voice, out loud and with gravity, announcing, “I imagine this was once a nasty notion. ” Too past due now. I wear my Walkman and performed my seashore Boys: Wouldn’t or not it's great if lets get up … It made me cry simply because i used to be a homo and it wasn’t gonna be great for me both. no longer with Cavanaugh, now not with Ricky, no longer with anyone ever. And what’s extra, it used to be a track my mother wouldn’t enable in the home. although I’d search out those golden oldies simply to sing along with her, I’d occasionally go wrong. there have been yes songs that have been ok: “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” “Quinn the Eskimo,” “Bobby McGee”— songs approximately an individual who used to be nonetheless available in the market someplace. “Eleanor Rigby,” for example, have been one other mistake. simply because my mother type of was once Eleanor Rigby: a extra glossy, prettier Eleanor to ensure, yet a Rigby the entire similar. She didn’t maintain her face in a jar via the door, yet she saved her earlier there. truly, she had a field for it, lower than her self-importance within the rest room. i discovered it one afternoon, in the course of the latchkey interval of my matriculation whilst i used to be approximately ten. I’d been snooping approximately, searching for my father. i discovered him within the oddest locations: photographs secreted away in spice jars within the kitchen; a shaving equipment in the back of books on a shelf; a couple of his aviator sun shades within the glove compartment of the Vega. Mom’s field used to be lower than her dressing desk, and it was once an enormous jackpot. not just used to be there a Jimi Hendrix sticky label at the best of it, however it was once chock packed with cool ‘60s stuff she by no means used anymore. there has been white nail polish and blue eyeliner, photographs of her and my dad from these little photograph booths—man, he had a grin! And his hair used to be curly like mine yet lower so brief you may slightly inform. there has been one in every of his previous tired wallets, with a California identity inside—so Wally Cleaver in his checkered short-sleeve blouse: James Owen Blake.

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