Yet another story of Los Angeles and the intertwined lives of its citizens, this debut travels through the less-glamorous parts of the city to arrive at a climax that is satisfying if not especially surprising. The story shifts among five characters: Wylie, an airport bartender who is coasting through a rather dull life; his brother Logan, an ex-con trying to go straight; Logan's daughter Jewell, who is an architecture student in the middle of breaking up with her girlfriend; Rudy, driven to desperation after being fired from his job cleaning airplanes; and Inez, Rudy's wife, who is secretly selling Avon to save enough money to leave him. Rudy suffers a mental breakdown, which results in a denouement that will, among other things, shake Wylie out of his complacency, reconcile Logan and Jewell, and free Inez from the unhappy marriage. Larson's settings are believably grimy, and her characters have interesting corners, but the novel works better as a glimpse into daily life than as a thriller. Recommended for larger fiction collections.-Jenne Bergstrom, San Diego Cty. Lib. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The lives of five lonely people converge as a creepy ex-employee plots revenge at LAX. An airport, with its steady stream of strangers and sterile cavernous spaces, often feels like a cold place where everything is transient. Conversations are brief, and cabin doors are shut emphatically on quickly forged relationships. But for those who work there, "fleeting" is just another word for the daily grind. When Rudy is fired from his job cleaning airplanes, he doesn't tell wife Inez. Quite the opposite: The chubby oddball informs her that he's been promoted. Rudy starts spending his days shoplifting, hiding out at the mall and sneaking around the garage with a paranoid mind and a master plan. Little does he know that Inez, tired of his verbal and emotional abuse, has her own secret. She has been working as an Avon lady in order to save enough money to run away with her daughter. One of Inez's regular customers is Celeste, who is cheating on Jewell, her devastated live-in girlfriend. Jewell's father has just been released from prison and is hoping his brother Wylie, a bartender at the airport, will help him out. Wylie, however, has enough on his mind already, since his lover has just dropped a bombshell. As these characters sort out the ruin of their lives and make plans, it becomes increasingly clear that Rudy's scheme may trump all of their intentions, good and bad. A gripping debut that successfully builds upon post-9/11 fears while feverishly mining the depths of human desire.
“Hilarious and heartbreaking all at once—no easy feat, but the mark of great storytelling.” —Sandra Cisneros
“This exceptional first novel is pitch-perfect in its authentic, insightful portrayals of fatefully intersecting lives. . . . The writing is pure pleasure—as clean and clear as glass.” —Katherine V. Forrest, author of Hancock Park
“Slipstream is a genuinely startling novel that caught me up in the lives of people being looked past, over, or beyond. Larson’s people are alive on the page, and they pulled me along with them as things got scarier and scarier until. . . . Well, you have to read the book to learn that—and trust me, it will be worth it.” —Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
“Leslie Larson has an unshakable confidence in her capacity fully to inhabit her characters, each brought vividly into wriggling, yammering life by her unerring talent. Slipstream demands to be read from start to finish, if at all possible in one long, shivering gulp.” —Peter Straub, author of In the Night Room
“In Leslie Larson’s novel Slipstream, the question is not why we leave but that we leave again and again, each time set against the incredible drama of our surreal lives. She inhabits her sharp, incisive, smart novel with lives we know and know of, sometimes too closely, lives that begin and begin again and seem to end and end again, departures and arrivals amidst the terror of our daily chaos.” —Lois-Ann Yamanaka, author of Behold the Many
“For all its deft plotting and effective suspense, Slipstream is most memorable for its portraits of characters negotiating the difference between just getting by and moving forward. Larson renders beautifully a lower-middle-class California that’s being squeezed out of a place to live, and provides an intricate and moving sense of the way in which such characters’ lives go wrong and the persistence of their resolve to turn them around.” —Jim Shepard, author of Love and Hydrogen
“As Leslie Larson reminds us in this brilliant novel, everyone in L.A. is just three degrees of separation from the next small apocalypse.” —Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz