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Literary fiction, classics, dystopian, history, memoir, prize winners, and of course the 1001 books. You really might catch me reading anything!

Currently reading

Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
Progress: 220/656 pages
SPOILER ALERT!

The Halfway House by Guillermo Rosales

The Halfway House (New Directions Paperbook) - Guillermo Rosales

This small and rather depressing book originally came out in 1987—but the English translation is only from 2009.

 

Apparently semi-biographical (and, apparently, to what extent no one knows), Rosales focused this story on the residents of a Miami halfway house. William Figueras, the main character and perhaps the author's alter ego, takes up residence there amongst "the nuts".

 

And what a motley crew it is—two mentally disabled men, an old "grande dame", another old woman, a one-eyed old man with a bladder issue, the owner who comes and goes, the manager who is there 24/7 and distributes their medication and cigarettes while himself half drunk, and a host of others.

 

But this home is no panacea for the residents—the are abused, they abuse, they are barely fed, they are dirty, and they are ignored by their families and the agencies that should be watching the facility.

 

Though so much of the story focuses on abuse, just a little hope can keep everyone going. At least for awhile.

 

Best line: "They fix their rundown cars and listen, for hours on end, to loud rock or exasperating drum solos on their portable radios."

 

I have listened to too many exasperating drum solos myself.