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Description - Chez Chance by Jay Gummerman

A freak accident has left young Frank Eastman a paraplegic--a "wild card" who needs to "pair up with someone or something or he won't pass back into existence." Los Angeles, the scene of his accident, is where he imagines this existence to be. He settles into a rundown motel near Disneyland, his neighbors a wild assortment of eccentrics who, though more able-bodied than Frank, have learned the effectiveness of willful inability. What Frank learns from them, in magnificently odd and mesmerizing conversations, will leave him as transformed emotionally as he has been physically with a narrative at once ironic, hilarious, and poignant.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780520210806
ISBN-10: 0520210808
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x 16mm)
Pages: 211
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 22-Sep-1997
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - Chez Chance by Jay Gummerman

Book Reviews - Chez Chance by Jay Gummerman

US Kirkus Review » Gummerman's first novel (the collection We Find Ourselves in Moontown, 1989) takes on the depravity of a commercialized America - but remains more wooden than moving. At 34, Frank Eastman faces life as a paraplegic: He was working for the phone company in Anaheim, Calif., when rats jumped at him from the palm tree he was trimming, making him fall from his ladder. Now, six months later, he returns to Anaheim (from St. Louis, where he went to recuperate at his sister's place) to visit the scent of the accident - and to let author Gummerman stir up the mix of symbols in his allegorical tale. Traveling by wheelchair, Eastman checks into the Tradewinds motel, a dreary old relic from the 1950s that's suitable because it's just a few blocks from Disneyland, which Eastman claims he's eager to visit. His actual tour of the theme park, however, is perfunctory, allowing him, back at the motel, to get more involved in the affairs of the obese and inscrutable woman there who sells drugs to a trickle of customers - including the homeless and dreadlocked "Earthling," a thief who later breaks into Eastman's room and threatens him with rape. The woman sends Eastman - for no really clear reason - to see the local drug kingpin known as "Emperor," actually a slick young Asian manipulator named Jarvis, who treats Eastman to a long Grand Inquisitor-style monologue justifying his own criminality by placing the seeds of it in US policies in the Pacific up to Hiroshima. At end, on a bad acid-trip, Eastman will be rescued - and then abandoned at roadside - by the guitar-playing girl he met earlier at the airport and by her brother, the realtor, opportunist, and quintessential scumbag of marketing named Chance Slimp. A cry of outrage at economics-driven cruelty, rapine, and insensitivity in America; but with characters more thematically hyper-correct than felt naturally on the pulse. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Jay Gummerman

Jay Gummerman is the author of the short story collection We Find Ourselves in Moontown (1990). He lives in San Clemente, California.