NO HANDBOOK FOR THE HOMELESS
By Joyce Trainor
“This is the definitive novel of the homeless in America—a novel Dickens would have admired. Without flinching or weeping, Joyce Trainor takes us to places we might not want to go, but should. It ought to be read by every politician, and by anyone who has a warm bed to sleep in.” —Robert Mayer, author of "The Dreams of Ada" and "The Origin of Sorrow"
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There is no Handbook for the Homeless. Nobody teaches seminars or gives guided tours that promise to give you the inside scoop on where to flop when you’re homeless. You have to figure it out as you go along. Few of us plan for it. Perhaps, in today’s cliché driven world, it means we planned to fail. But how much farther can you fall than sleeping in the cemetery, curled up on your son’s grave because it’s the only piece of real estate you own. At best, if you find yourself homeless, if you haven’t burned all your karma, you will find a spirit guide. More likely the guide will find you. In this first novel by Joyce Trainor, Aileen Roark’s middle class life is forever changed by a drunk driver. Overwhelmed by medical and legal debt, Aileen retreats to a tiny rundown apartment and tries desperately to rebuild her life with only her son’s enormous dog for companionship. But the downward spiral continues and Aileen stumbles into a world unknown to her, hidden from wealthy tourists and part time residents in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s a place where a night on the street can mean a death sentence or a ‘Go Straight to Jail’ card and change everything you believe about the ragged people standing on the corner. Street dwelling Wizard, a relic of the communes that dotted New Mexico in the 1960s and 70s; Father Rico, elderly priest to an impoverished parish; ex-boxer Cesar Jesus Chavez, now night manager at a cheap motel; and the quirky Billy James Dean, Esquire, defender of the almost guilty, help Aileen survive.
Joyce Trainor moved nine times across the United States by the time she was thirteen. Her teen and young adult years were spent in Arizona, where she moved seven times within that state before relocating to Northern New Mexico in the early eighties. She lives in the Espanola Valley, working and volunteering with various educational and social service agencies. Finally home, she has lived in the same dwelling for over thirty years. This is her first novel.
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