A rich piggy lifts a beaten redneck from a sidewalk. It is a negligible act, but from it would arise riots outside the walls of Florida State Prison and a swimming through the stars. This poignant novel, alternately gritty and lyrical, is an intimate look at the lives of two men. One of them is straight; one is gay. And NO, this is not a coming out story, but it is an exploration into human loneliness and unadulterated love.
Set in the 1980’s, the gritty opening scene has Robert Newell—straight and with head-turning good looks—facing the reality of Carmen. In actuality he confronts the reality about himself—how, to escape his homelessness, he has pandered himself to her lusts. He speaks to her about wanting children and driving home after work to play with them in the backyard. She speaks of sex toys.
Bob’s beatified mother visits him in his sleep and in the morning he decides to make his move. In order to reclaim his dignity of being a man, he will again make his home in his rusting pickup truck. He hopes that one day he might obtain his dream. He acknowledges that it is a humble dream, the common dream of Everyman—the dream of wife and family.
In Atlanta a Marine he had served with in Vietnam pummels him in a beer joint and tosses him out onto the sidewalk. Blaine Shirer, a homely gay guy, has been prowling a nearby park for tricks. He stops to help Bob home.
Over weeks a sort of friendship develops—on again, off again. But eventually they manage to make a home together and celebrate the negligible milestones of one life, of the other’s and of the life they share together. But then come bullets and judgment by the righteous.
In this novel of heart and grit, Vann Turner bears witness to the dreams we seek, the love we crave and the courage we must summon to defend it from righteous wagging tongues.