TITLE: Roadside Bodhisattva
A NOVEL by Paul Di Filippo
PUBLICATION DATE: June 2010
EDITION: Jacketed Hardcover
COVER ART: Luis Rodrigues
PRINT RUN: Unsigned
Kid A, sixteen, a runaway, determined to equal the hobo exhilarations and revelations described in the books of Jack Kerouac, is wandering the highways of the American Northeast. Stopping to sleep for the night under a particularly hospitable tree, he meets Sid, a fifty-something old-timer of the roads, who steps into the Kid's life like an apparition, full of stories and existential wisdom. The two do not travel together far before settling down to work at the Deer Park Kitchen — Motel and Filling Station attached—for what should be a brief, restorative stint. But Deer Park is full of interesting personalities, some expansive, some in need, and the short stay comes to span many weeks, which will change forever the lives of both Sid and Kid A . . .
In the ensuing epiphanies and misunderstandings befalling Kid A, hope and disappointment are mixed, as sexual attraction, honest hard labour, growing knowledge of strangers, and curious philosophical insights combine into the boy's first proper experience of the world. In all this there is a rough but lyrical conviction, superbly captured in Paul Di Filippo's fine naturalistic prose. However, as Kid A thinks he is at last developing a sense of belonging, a shattering betrayal is revealed.
In this exuberant but ultimately bittersweet tale of a teenage boy's coming of age, Paul Di Filippo has composed a compelling variation on the traditional road novel, one that subverts the genre keenly even while celebrating it.
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