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The Revolution of Every Day

Cari Luna

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In the midnineties, New York’s Lower East Side contained a city within its shadows: a community of squatters who staked their claims on abandoned tenements and lived and worked within their own parameters, accountable to no one but each other. With gritty prose and vivid descriptions, Cari Luna’s debut novel, The Revolution of Every Day, imagines the lives of five squatters from that time. But almost more threatening than the city lawyers and the private developers trying to evict them are the rifts within their community. Amelia, taken in by Gerrit as a teen runaway seven years earlier, is now pregnant by his best friend, Steve. Anne, married to Steve, is questioning her commitment to the squatter lifestyle. Cat, a fading legend of the downtown scene and unwitting leader of one of the squats, succumbs to heroin. The misunderstandings and assumptions, the secrets and the dissolution of the hope that originally bound these five threaten to destroy their homes as surely as the city’s battering rams. The Revolution of Every Day shows readers a life that few people, including the New Yorkers who passed the squats every day, know about or understand.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 08, 2013 – The appeal of squatters in lower Manhattan making their last stand against Giuliani will be apparent to anyone currently paying rent in New York County, but there’s little more than ’90s nostalgia at play in Luna’s debut novel. Not that the residents of Thirteen House are models of DIY bliss: the tenement’s heart and soul are the ex-junkie runaway, Amelia, and Gerrit, the partially deformed Dutch immigrant whose passion is rehabilitation—of electronics, old bikes and Amelia herself. With eviction imminent, Thirteen House’s only ally is Cat House, named both for Cat, a faded scene queen, and the many felines she adopts. Other strays include Steve, the father of Amelia’s baby, and his long-suffering wife, Anne. Not surprisingly, interpersonal politics are emphasized over the gentrification narrative, and a gloomy inevitability shadows the proceedings. “A life without constraints—that had been the goal,” but these squatters’ best days are clearly behind them. This novel gets points for not being Rent, but as a portrait of an era, it’s still a romantic simplification populated by caricatures: the wasted punk-naïf, the disfigured father figure, the damaged matriarch. There’s no revolution to be found in this novel, which feels far too prefab.
The Revolution of Every Day
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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Sep 16, 2013
  • Publisher: Tin House Books
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 392 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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