Abundance

Jakob Guanzon. Graywolf, $15 trade paper (328p) ISBN 978-1-64445-046-8
Guanzon debuts with a harrowing story of a man’s desperation and unyielding love for his son. Single father Henry has less than $100 to his name, and he’s planning on spending it on his son Junior’s eighth birthday present: a night in a hotel with a real bed and cable TV instead of sleeping in Henry’s truck. Recently released from a five-year prison sentence for possession of homemade fentanyl pills, Henry washes himself in the bathroom of a McDonald’s and lives on junk food, while Junior’s mother, Michelle, is nowhere to be found. Each chapter is titled after the dwindling amount of cash Henry has, while flashbacks show Henry’s brief windfall from a pill sale and struggle to foot the hospital bill for Junior’s delivery. Junior and Henry are all the other has, and Henry holds out hope that a job interview he has lined up at a call center will give them a shot at escaping their life of itinerancy. Unfortunately, Junior grows increasingly ill from their meager diet, and a violent altercation in a parking lot threatens to derail Henry’s plans. Guanzon’s descriptions of grinding poverty are visceral (pocket change rattles in Henry’s pocket “like tiny shackles”), and Henry’s attempts to fend off relentless adversity for the sake of his son are heartbreaking. This one hits hard. Agent: Chris Clemans, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/29/2020
Release date: 03/02/2021
Genre: Fiction
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