Recipient of the 2019 Alex Award
“Mike Muñoz Is a Holden Caulfield for a New Millennium--a '10th-generation peasant with a Mexican last name, raised by a single mom on an Indian reservation' . . . Evison, as in his previous four novels, has a light touch and humorously guides the reader, this time through the minefield that is working-class America.” --The New York Times Book Review
For Mike Muñoz, life has been a whole lot of waiting for something to happen. Not too many years out of high school and still doing menial work--and just fired from his latest gig as a lawn boy on a landscaping crew--he’s smart enough to know that he’s got to be the one to shake things up if he’s ever going to change his life. But how? He’s not qualified for much of anything. He has no particular talents, although he is stellar at handling a lawn mower and wielding clipping shears. But now that career seems to be behind him. So what’s next for Mike Muñoz?
In this funny, biting, touching, and ultimately inspiring novel, bestselling author Jonathan Evison takes the reader into the heart and mind of a young man determined to achieve the American dream of happiness and prosperity--who just so happens to find himself along the way.
This moving fifth novel from Evison (This is Your Life, Harriet Chance) enters the wry, conflicted mind of Mike Mu oz, a recently fired yard worker with a real talent for topiary and a genuine love for landscaping. When Mike is sacked after refusing to comply with a client's orders to pick up after his dog, he takes refuge in the one place in the world that's always welcomed him: the library. As he tries to figure out what to do next, Mike contemplates writing the "Great American Landscaping Novel" the sort of novel he'd like to read but writing novels, he realizes, isn't for people like him: "landscapers, especially unemployed ones... had bills to pay. Cars to fix. Disabled siblings to care for." Evison convincingly evokes the small disasters and humiliations that beset America's working poor. Mike's gradual growth into self-awareness is punctuated by moments of human kindness and grace that transpire in and among broken-down trucks, trailer parks, and strip malls. Focusing on the workers who will only ever be welcome in gated communities as hired help, Evison's quiet novel beautifully considers the deterioration of the American Dream.