Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets
Cadillac Man. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, $25 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-59691-406-3
Writer, veteran and native Manhattanite Cadillac Man exposes the hidden world of the homeless in this riveting collection of stories from his sixteen years on the streets of New York City. Following the heartbreaking deterioration of his marriage, Cadillac finds himself wandering New York with no destination, comforted by the memories of his young daughter and haunted by his failures. With an uncanny sense of humor and invention, Cadillac uses everyday objects most take for granted (soda cans, discarded beach chairs, toy wagons) to build a life for himself, literally, from the ground up. Cadillac guides readers through streets most people don't (or choose not to) see, introducing the outcasts he comes to value most: singers, teen runaways, pimps, prostitutes and a few unlikely angels. Excruciating details of fist-fights and romantic escapades leave little to the imagination, rendering Cadillac's world intimate, scary and touching; it becomes clear that his survival and sanity depend not only on crafty methods of making money, but also on journaling (excerpts from which have appeared in Esquire magazine). A surprising find, Cadillac lets readers in on a rarely seen community, revealing the compassionate hearts that beat even in the most despairing circumstances.
Reviewed on: 03/16/2009