A road trip novel from the author of Fup that “reads like Kerouac’s On the Road as it might have been written by Hunter S. Thompson” (The Plain Dealer).
George Gastin is a Bay Area tow-truck operator who wrecks cars as part of an insurance scam. One of the cars he is hired to demolish is a snow-white Cadillac that was supposed to be a present for the Big Bopper, who died in the Iowa plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Gastin has a change of heart and takes off in the car, heading for Texas where the Bopper is buried. Armed with a thousand hits of Benzedrine and chased by adversaries real and imagined, Gastin navigates a road trip that covers many miles and states of mind.
Traveling in time from the Beat era to the dawn of the sixties, from the coffeehouses of North Beach to the open plains of America, Gastin picks up some extraordinary hitchhikers: the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest salesman,” the Reverend Double-Gone Johnson, and a battered housewife with a box of old 45s. As the miles and sleepless hours roll by, Gastin’s trip becomes a blur of fantasy and reality fueled by a soundtrack of classic rock ‘n’ roll.
“His surreal voyage into the chaos of night carries him into the heart of America’s darkest psychological landscapes. Not Fade Away shakes, rattles, and rolls.” —San Francisco Chronicle
In his second novel, the author of Fup relives an era that spanned the Beat Generation and the beginnings of the '60s. We accompany the mysterious yet amiable George Gastin in a stolen 59 Caddy as he travels across America to Big Bopper's grave, where he wants to deliver a "heartfelt crazy gift meant to celebrate music and the possibilities of human love.'' Hallucinogenic drugs offer fantastic diversions, and roadstops result in both comedy and poignancy. The sad and strange Mira Whitman is particulary memorableshe decides against suicide because she was ``so terrified nobody was there inside her to die,'' and only after George hears Mira's ``warm, full-throated, belly-rich laughter'' does he resume his quest. Dodge's wonderful imagination, eye for detail and command of language along with a delightful backdrop of rock-and-roll make a somewhat absurd plot flow with grace and rhythm.