Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuna

Overview

Mickey Acuña is a man suspended between a vague past and a vaguer future. Emerging from the landscape of the Southwest, buffeted by life and licking his wounds, he moves into a YMCA to wait for a check that is coming to save him and that demands an address. As days and then weeks pass without its arrival, he picks up work - first odd jobs and then shifts at the cash register of the Y - and hangs out with his neighbors, playing handball, drinking coffee, shooting pool, getting drunk, falling in love or lust with ...

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The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuna: A Novel

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Overview

Mickey Acuña is a man suspended between a vague past and a vaguer future. Emerging from the landscape of the Southwest, buffeted by life and licking his wounds, he moves into a YMCA to wait for a check that is coming to save him and that demands an address. As days and then weeks pass without its arrival, he picks up work - first odd jobs and then shifts at the cash register of the Y - and hangs out with his neighbors, playing handball, drinking coffee, shooting pool, getting drunk, falling in love or lust with women he meets, works with, passes on the street. In the vacuum of the Y, Mickey finds himself becoming the unwitting center of a community starved for human contact and for meaning: Sarge, with his fast-food coupons; Omar, with his drunken rages and obsession with the vanished Lucy; Rosemary, whose abundant physical presence both attracts and repels him. Mickey fights to maintain his distance and his freedom, until the narrative converges abruptly around him in a profound and shocking conclusion.

Dagoberto Gilb is fast becoming recognized as a powerful and important new talent in American fiction. His first novel centers on Mickey Acuna, a drifter who takes up residence at the YMCA. Soon, Mickey finds himself at the center of a lost community of souls--whose lives converge around him in a shocking conclusion.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Recalling the trenchant portraits of the dispossessed urban poor by post-colonial writers like Alex La Guma and Jessica Hagedorn, Gilb's first novel (after the multiple award-winning short-story collection, The Magic of Blood) demonstrates his sensitivity towards the gritty, everyday world of the Southwestern, Chicano underclass. In highly evocative prose that often slides into Spanish, Gilb here portrays the angst-ridden, posturing Mickey Acua, who arrives at the El Paso YMCA on the run from an unknown past event looking only for anonymity and a mailing address. Plagued by inertia and self-doubt, waiting for a check that never arrives, obsessed with obtaining an ``unpolluted understanding'' of his surroundings, Mickey gradually fraternizes with the other disenfranchised Y residents. Gilb focuses on the slow passage of time at the Y and the daily interactions of Mickey's neighbors, like the Charles Manson-esque Reverend Miller and the paranoid loner Charles Towne, both of whom fixate desperately on the delivery of mail. Gilb's unhurried story line occasionally bogs down in the mundane details of life at the Y, yet his characterizations of the underemployed, mentally ill and abandoned men and women who congregate there are vibrant. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Like the powerful stories in his The Magic of Blood (LJ 4/15/93), Gilb's first novel evokes the heat and dust, poverty, lassitude, and passion of the urban Southwest. With an undivulged past and an uncertain future, rugged, itinerant Mickey waits at an El Paso YMCA for a change in fortune. A dime Western is his bible, working out and desultory hanging out his pastimes. Caught between the chronic malaise of shiftlessness and the spark of mischief, competitiveness, and libido he still possesses, Mickey watches the pathos of his neighbors even as he senses his own. At times, the narrative drifts perilously close to a too-accurate reflection of the resignation and pointlessness it limns, but Gilb buoys his tale with sensitivity, acuity, and humor. For larger public libraries and area collections.-Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802134196
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1 PBK ED
  • Pages: 218
  • Product dimensions: 5.99 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.63 (d)

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