Buffalo Nickel

Floyd Salas, Author Arte Publico Press $19.95 (250p) ISBN 978-1-55885-049-1
Salas's fiercely eloquent account of growing up in a family roiled by drug addiction, crime and suicide is a scorching read. He idolized his older brother Al, a professional boxer who popped in and out of reform schools and prisons for pimping, selling bootlegged liquor and petty theft. Their oldest brother, Eddie, a Harvard-educated pharmacist, committed suicide, tormented by his bisexuality and angry at the father who had rejected him. Moving from a Colorado mining town to Denver to a California boomtown and finally to Oakland, Calif., during the Depression, Salas eked out a living selling crucifixes door to door to support his pregnant teenage girlfriend, whom he married. Al, a junkie, pushed him into the ring and tried to lead him into crime as well, but Salas ultimately spurned the brother who let him down, and went on to become a successful novelist. This pounding novelistic autobiography, punctuated by the suicides of several relatives and friends, climaxes with a boxing match between the two brothers, in which they figuratively spill their guts. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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