In his debut novel, poet Jim Nason, writing with dignity and wit, takes an unusual look at suffering and dying.
Tony Pearce is an imposing presence, but in his carnivalesque world-turned-upside-down, he perceives himself as small and invisible. As he attends to his work he mentally "cleans house," exploring childhood memories and his grief and guilt surrounding his younger brother Stephen's death at the hands of his violent and mean-spirited stepfather. Tony learns through the courage of his clients, and ultimately emerges with grace and humour as an emotionally daring and sexually adventurous man.
Some chapters are introduced by a voice from the 1950s: housekeeping tips from Mrs. Neatson's Easy Steps to Domestic Bliss for the Busy Housewife. These tips, with their surreal tone of glamour and richness, run parallel with the real-life survival needs of the novel's characters: an elderly, crippled man living with his drug-dealing grandson; a demented drag queen about to get evicted from his apartment; a mother holding the hand of her dying son as she reflects on her youth and her lost lover.
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