Let me tell you more about this book: this narrative comes at you slowly but it’s sneaky, like a garden in spring, one day you wake up and it’s all around you. In the first story What We Know Now, our narrator went with his parents to the other side of the world, or so it seemed, ultimately it was just a place in the country. To be honest I knew something special was going on with the book when Amsterdam had his hard-as-nails father profess that the neighbors were going to die if he went to the city the next day. This is the end of the world, but it’s not, certainly, as the people we’ve met, Grandma and Grandpa are still kicking around, and the son who has to witness so much adulthood is now on the road with them in some now forbidden foreign land. It certainly is an interesting if not well worn idea, to be honest, as the end of the world seems to be coming true every day, if you ask me.
In The Theft That Got Me Here, we see the son (from the first story, right?), he’s still unnamed at this point, going sideways, he isn’t being the best grandson in the world. He’s stealing things and pinching his Grand parents prescriptions, but he wants to get ahead in life, even though life as he once knew it is basically over. The road the three of them travel on seems like it might just be the savior they all need, but it’s not. There is a fantastic section where Grandma convinces the border guard at the blockade to let them drive out to the country. It’s one of those moments where you don’t know if she will talk herself out of getting past the guard or she will actually make it. Through a young man’s eyes we see the world that doesn’t give a shit about anyone. That’s a very rare gift to give the reader. There is a ripple of the surroundings, just a taste, meaning we are going to get more, and it will get worse before it gets better. These stories have a tone woven in them that is sad and touching but mostly urgent.