I could see Isabel's shoes heading up the stairs. They sucked on their Frapps and stared at the customers. At the end of that first summer Russ and Alex dropped by Starbucks on their first day back from Alaska. It was owned by a Korean bachelor who spoke very little English and spent most of his time ignoring the ringing phone and heating up vile-smelling lunches on a hot plate. I found a new job, amazingly enough, at a sign painter's shop out by the Coralville strip.
Phil lobs at daytime television audiences, and Rinehart's guys, like Lipsyte's and Klam's, are too savvy to fall for that or any other shtick. But Rinehart may be a little too beguiled by his protagonist. I hope that's what this means. He's too cool not to notice, and not to say so, that the tent under which he and Isabel exchanged their vows ''once had banners sewn on it advertising cheap tequila. Some months later she left her husband and I got a job at Starbucks running the blenders.
Then the figure of a woman appeared behind him. They have to start over. But some guys, alas, just keep right on crawling. Built in a Day is the story of an over-educated underachiever whose oath to clean up his act is put to the ultimate test when the world around him crumbles into a state of disrepair. She hated me, I suppose for my general goateed slackerness.
Isabel took the champagne glass out of my hand and sniffed it. Conversation at the surrounding tables subsided. . First, it's been a long road, a very long road. It was close work, the kind of work you can do just as well with the radio turned up loud, and it suited me.
The three of them watched me from behind the screen. Isabel met me at the top, and I fell to my knees at her feet. I already spend two hours a night with him on his fricking homework. The world is improbably wowed by Andrew's charisma he manages, for example, to convince an Iowa Democratic caucus to nominate him for president and strangely tolerant of his sexual predations which, conveniently, leave the foster daughter emotionally unscathed ; the other characters, especially the women, are fondly indulgent and devoted to the project of ushering Andrew into a belated manhood. My heart gave a panicked kick, then the figure stepped closer to the screen and the image coalesced into that of a young girl. Her hair was freshly slept in. I went to my apartment and called Isabel at home and broke it off with her, just like that.
Phil sort of way, if only a word of it were true. She'd said yes even before I started blubbering. He responds to his new role by taking his sexually precocious female charge to bed and making starry-eyed plans to marry her while also thinking about seducing her social worker. She was wearing a heartbreakingly short white t-shirt and cut-off jeans. Russ just held out the cash, defiant, the entire restaurant staring at him. She almost hit me with her old Renault. It's like you die and start a new life.
Rinehart has a very good grasp on how to render teenagers, their diction and their habits. I didn't feel any better at all. Acclaimed author of the story collection Kick in the Head Steven Rinehart's debut novel is filled to the brim with his characteristic wry humor, unflinching truth, and raw emotional power. I could do those in my sleep. Andrew will be, to anyone who's lived in a college town, a familiar figure: at 32, he's a ''goateed slacker with a scraggly soul patch and a few.
We all stood there while the blenders screamed. She didn't give a single other detail. Left in charge of his late wife's son and a sultry 15-year-old pregnant orphan named Jule, 32-year-old Andrew Bergman has to find the will and strength to rise to the absurd challenge of becoming a stepfather and -grandfather in the course of a few short months. Darkly hysterical and deeply stirring, Built in a Day is an affecting examination of love, responsibility, and the resilience it takes to pick up the pieces. Many of us thought it was too long. I was hearing his boots. I have no idea why.
I was probably drinking her liquor when she said this stuff. That kid had his shit together way too much for fourteen. So I go find you or find something that reminds me of you. I had been taking a poetry workshop and had been ostentatiously scribbling on notepads and coasters for weeks at one corner of Rosie's fake-Irish bar. I should have been able to do it but I couldn't. They're ''not wholly without compunction,'' to quote David Gates, whose novel ''Jernigan'' 1991 might be said to have midwifed these characters, just ''without compunction that did any good. They left dark smears on its waxy surface.
Rinehart doesn't provide the pal's answer, but it's obvious or should be : who says you did? Did he really know what he was doing? I walked across the sperm-motif carpet and out through the double set of doors and onto the pedestrian mall. He just waded right back in. I still remember the first thing I said to Isabel, one of the best things I ever said to her, a jewel among the turds of things I would end up saying to her for the next year or so. Writing in sharp first-person prose, he captures the verbal blend of self-deprecation and self-indulgence with which Andrew tries to dodge any blame for his actions. It wouldn't be going on anyone's window. Her grip on the sharp bone of my elbow was something she must have learned as part of her training.