Sunland

Don Waters. University of Nevada Press, $25.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-87417-921-7
This offbeat, droll debut novel from Reno, Nev., native Waters, author of the collection Desert Gothic, concerns a disillusioned 30-something man’s struggles to put his life back together after a relationship goes awry. High school English teacher Sid Dulaney has fled Massachusetts following a breakup with his unfaithful girlfriend, Juliet, resettling in his hometown of Tucson, Ariz., where he looks after his octogenarian grandmother, Nana. To help allay the expense of keeping her in an assisted living facility, Sid sells cheap prescription drugs purchased from Mexican pharmacies to Nana’s eccentric fellow residents. In the meantime, he pursues substitute teaching work and spends time with his Yale-educated, underachieving friend Warsaw, who follows a bizarre self-help guru. Sid also begins dating attractive social worker Mona, who shares his interest in starting a family. When a blood clot leaves Nana partially paralyzed, however, her escalating medical expenses lead Sid to consider risky but lucrative work as a guide for illegal border crossings, putting a strain on his relationship with Mona. Though occasionally too quirky for its own good, this is a diverting narrative of a young man’s roundabout path to finding his way again. Agent: Maria Massie, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
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