From Publishers Weekly
Harsh realism mixes with poetic despair as the characters in Addonizio's second novel try to climb out of the hells of their own making. Rita Louise Jackson is homeless at 24, trying to get off heroin and find her husband, Jimmy D'Angelo, who left her after a fight. Rita wanders through contemporary San Francisco, sometimes drunk, sometimes strung out, turning tricks or panhandling when she needs money, all the while haunted by memories of her murdered mother and of her time with Jimmy. As she contemplates ways to turn her life around, an unwelcome opportunity arises when she sees a body being taken out of a seedy hotel. The murderer spots her and promises to come after her. The ensuing fear brings private investigator Gary Shepard into her life. Jimmy, meanwhile, is finding something like success as a waiter at a swanky restaurant. Even during the harshest times, the beauty of Addonizio's language binds the reader to a story that unfolds in the shadows of Denis Johnson's and Charles Bukowski's works. Addonizio (Little Beauties, and several poetry volumes, including What Is This Thing Called Love) might not bring much new to the hobo/vagabond-lit. bonfire, but her characters' desperate lives are rendered with striking delicacy. (July)
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Love was not enough to keep Rita and Jimmy's marriage together, and now Rita is alone and homeless on the streets of San Francisco with no clue to the fate of her husband. Her few belongings in a bag, she tries to stay smart and safe, but she is burdened with the sort of beauty that makes men want to hurt her, and many have, beginning with the wretch who murdered her mother. As Rita's search for Jimmy devolves into a desperate scramble to stay alive, Addonizio, a poet and novelist writing with singeing intensity in this lip-biting yet strangely lyrical tale of survival, reveals how easily lives can come disastrously undone. Acutely aware of the tyranny of desire, and of the violence percolating within so many men, Addonizio creates mesmerizing characters. Some are pure evil; others, especially a private investigator just a breath away from criminality, combustibly complex. As she tells this bluesy tale of bad luck and addiction, sleazy hotels and sexual violence, biblical rain and sudden reprieves, Addonizio zeroes in on the power of love and life's insistence. Seaman, Donna
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