Out West

Fred Leebron, Author Doubleday Books $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-48420-6
In his first novel, Leebron, author of numerous short stories, successfully tackles the uncertain morality and precarious ties shared by two young people whose lives inadvertently turn for the worst. Benjamin West, an aspiring graduate student, is still reeling from the irony of serving a prison term for getting caught with a little dope and a high-school girl; Amber Keenan, overqualified and underpaid, works at a literacy center in San Francisco's shady Tenderloin district. Amber is lying low after a failed attempt at revenge at Dean, her style-maven boyfriend: she turned on every gas outlet in his apartment in the hope that he would light a cigarette when he came home--but it was Dean's new girlfriend, not Dean, who died. Meanwhile, Benjamin finds work as the night desk clerk at the ratty welfare hotel where Amber lives. The two fall into an awkward relationship, sexual but distant, that slips into complicity when Dean returns to avenge himself and Benjamin defends Amber, accidentally killing Dean in the process. Benjamin and Amber forge an odd, necessary bond as they cover their tracks and grapple, alone and together, with the oddities of fate and ill fortune. Leebron's sure feel for detail and a bitter sense of humor keep his tale one level above sordid--but just barely--as his characters struggle, with ample attitude if not much hope of success, against a pretty rotten destiny. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996
Release date: 10/01/1996
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-1-938103-94-0
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