Exiles in Eden: Life Among the Ruins of Florida's Great Recession

Paul Reyes, Holt, $25 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9123-6
As a freelance writer often in need of money, Reyes frequently helped his father "trash out" foreclosed homes in Florida. Trashing out was what they called "erasing all traces of whoever lived there, dispensing with both their physical presence and the ugly aura of eviction." Before the housing crisis, trashing out gave Reyes a small but steady supplement to his income. But after, Reyes decided to use the experience as a way to examine the crisis and its impact on the lives of ordinary people. He becomes involved with many who had lost their homes, and some who are offering assistance, and follows up on them as they try to rebuild their lives. Many had been subprime borrowers duped by unscrupulous lenders, lost their jobs, and accrued too much debt, and their stories, often best revealed by the desperate detritus left behind, form the spine of Reyes's powerful book. The author also tells his father's story, and the typicality of this immigrant's tale supports, rather than weakens, the larger point. His impressive effort stands as a wrenching chronicle of our new hard times. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 11/22/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4299-3076-5
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-8130-4167-4
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