The National Book Award winning author returns to his original fictional territory-the lives of the dispossessed in San Francisco-with a parable about the limitations of desire and life at the margins of society In such earlier works of fiction as The Rainbow Stories and The Royal Family, William T. Vollmann wrote memorably of characters living in the seamy underbelly of San Francisco's Tenderloin district. In this new novel, Vollmann returns to that gritty world with a story that centers around a woman with magical powers whom everyone loves, and who has to love them all back. Neva's world is a bar in the Tenderloin. Her worshippers include Richard, the ineffectual, alcoholic, occasionally omniscient narrator; a hardcore transgender street worker named Shantelle; the brisk but motherly barmaid Francine; and the former Frank, who has renamed herself after Judy Garland. When Judy starts to love Neva too much, Judy's retired policeman boyfriend embarks on a mission of exposure and destruction. Crafted out of language by turns eloquent, terse, humorous, sensual, and spiritual, Vollmann's novel aches with compassion as it examines loneliness, celebrity, abuse and the heroism of marginalized people who in the face of humiliation and outright violence seek to love in their own way, and stand up for who they are.
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by William Shakespeare
by William T. Vollmann
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