The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuņa: A Novel

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9780802134196: The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuņa: A Novel
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Mickey Acuņa is a man suspended between a vague past and a vaguer future. Emerging from the landscape of the Southwest, buffeted by life and licking his wounds, he moves into a YMCA to wait for a check that is coming to save him and that demands an address. As days and then weeks pass without its arrival, he picks up work - first odd jobs and then shifts at the cash register of the Y - and hangs out with his neighbors, playing handball, drinking coffee, shooting pool, getting drunk, falling in love or lust with women he meets, works with, passes on the street. In the vacuum of the Y, Mickey finds himself becoming the unwitting center of a community starved for human contact and for meaning: Sarge, with his fast-food coupons; Omar, with his drunken rages and obsession with the vanished Lucy; Rosemary, whose abundant physical presence both attracts and repels him. Mickey fights to maintain his distance and his freedom, until the narrative converges abruptly around him in a profound and shocking conclusion.

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About the Author:

Dagoberto Gilb has been a visiting writer at the Universities of Texas, Arizona, and Wyoming.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A slight first novel by the author of last year's story collection The Magic of Blood, this details a few months in the lives of regular-guy Mexican-Americans firmly fixed in the here and now. Mickey, a Chicano rambler, comes out of nowhere special and is going nowhere else special when he checks into the El Paso YMCA; Gilb establishes him as an almost mythical working-class vato who can live on the nourishment of his half-fabricated past. Of his future, all Mickey knows is that he's expecting a check for some services rendered. As he gets a few odd jobs for drink money and begins to know his neighbors (a quirky bunch of characters, freakishly drawn), Mickey fights a psychological battle to keep his distance and his sense of self. His cronies include mild-mannered Sarge, a loner fixated on Big Macs and a private porn collection; silent Butch, whose few words come out like oracular utterances; Omar, who has tequila frenzies and an obsession with lost love; Blind Jimmy, a guitar-playing, emaciated street person who wears pink chiffon dresses and wishes he were an eight-year-old girl; Lola, the seen-it-all waitress, whose heart is eagerly sought after. Mickey's routine is thoroughly detailed, so much so that a ping-pong game gets five pages, a pool game ten. The sentences lunge after the Hemingwayesque satori: ``Mickey was simple in this: he wanted one truth that was, at least, true.'' Toward the end Gilb works up some plot tension concerning the whereabouts of the mysterious check, but it's too little, too late, drowned in a sea of Bukowskian, nothing-matters existentialism. The genuine Chicano dialogue buzzing over the lazy rec-room activities provides the draw here, but Gilb's overriding earnestness seems at odds with his characters' F.T.W. attitude. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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9780802115546: The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuna

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ISBN 10:  0802115543 ISBN 13:  9780802115546
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Pr, 1994
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