cover image Your Driver Is Waiting

Your Driver Is Waiting

Priya Guns. Doubleday, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-54930-1

Guns’ sharp and bonkers debut reimagines Taxi Driver for the Uber era. Damani Krishanthan, 30, drives long hours for RideShare in an unnamed American city, where her low commission rate can’t cover her bills and rent on the apartment she shares with her recently widowed mother (the household has also lost the income of Damani’s father, who died while working a fast-food job). Damani grinds out her gig, fighting exhaustion and keeping weapons close at hand for protection; passes a steady stream of protesters carrying “FUCK-this signs”; and hangs out at an abandoned warehouse-cum-night club, the Doo Wop Club, where she commiserates with fellow gig workers. Things seem to brighten after she books a fare with Jolene, a wealthy white activist with whom she develops a whirlwind romance. But when Jolene accompanies Damani to the Doo Wop Club, an argument ensues as Damani challenges Jolene’s abstract anticapitalistic ideas about how to handle predatory companies like RideShare. The third act, featuring Damani sporting a mohawk à la Travis Bickle, leads to a somewhat overheated ending, but there’s plenty of rich commentary on gig work, race, and white privilege. This has plenty of bite. Agent: David Forrer, InkWell Management. (Feb.)