Drift A Novel

Manuel Luis Martinez

Picador

0312309953

9780312309954

Trade Paperback

264 Pages

$17.00

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At sixteen, Robert Lomos has lost his family. His father, a Latin jazz musician, has abandoned the family in San Antonio for life on the road as a cool-hand playboy. His mother, shattered by a complete emotional and psychological breakdown, has moved to Los Angeles and taken Robert's little brother with her. Only his iron-willed grandmother, worn down by years of hard work, is left. But Robert's got a plan: duck trouble, save some money, and head to California to put the family back together. Trouble is, no one believes a delinquent Mexican-American kid has a chance—least of all, Robert himself. Wrenching and wise, Drift is an unflinching vision of the menace of adolescence, the hard edge of physical labor, and the debts we owe to family.

REVIEWS

Praise for Drift

"Martinez, who teaches American literature at Indiana University, nails the brash voice of a cocky teenager amped up on adrenaline and desire so perfectly that the novel crackles with the authenticity of lived experience. His descriptions of the informal economy of minimum-wage labor in which Robert is entrenched are particularly vivid."—Martha Bayne, The Washington Post Book World

"Forget the sociology for a minute, Drift's great achievment is the dear and moving portrayal of a grandmother and grandson who love each other profoundly. Such affection is just about the hardest art to pull off, but Manuel Luis Martinez makes it seem easy."—Victor LaValle, author of Slapboxing with Jesus and The Ecstatic

"Drift is the searing tale of a teenage boy torn apart by his longing for his broken family and the demands of his coming adulthood. The book is a sustained and beautiful triumph of voice—a voice that cries out in every line with anguish, anger, and love."—Jonathan Ames, author of The Extra Man

"This novel is necessary. Manuel Luis Martinez takes us into a world that exists all over this country but is rarely portrayed so deeply—the decidedly unmagical world of struggling Mexican-Americans. In Drift, he delivers the trials of his young hero with honesty and passion and some of the best writing about work I've ever read."—Stewart O'Nan, author of A Prayer for the Dying

"A comical, lyrical, and urgent force of a novel. No matter how lost, abandoned, or unloved life makes us feel, Drift leaves us seeing the glass half full."—Ernesto Quinonez, author of Bodega Dreams

"Martinez's impressive second novel (after Crossing) gives us the world through the eyes of 16-year-old Mexican-American Robert Lomos, part tough-talking cynic, part sensitive older brother and son who is forced to learn more than he wants to about adult responsibilities when his mother has a mental breakdown . . . Robert's biting, assured voice makes [this] book a standout."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Manuel Luis Martinez is Assistant Professor of American literature at Indiana University. His novella, Crossing, was selected as one of the ten outstanding books by a writer of color by the PEN American Center. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Manuel Luis Martinez

  • Manuel Luis Martinez is Assistant Professor of American literature at Indiana University. His novella, Crossing, was selected as one of the ten outstanding books by a writer of color by the PEN American Center. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and can be reached via e-mail at memorybabe2@yahoo.com.
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