Fresh from prison, young Bento stumbles into a job at a quirky collection agency, joining an unconventional crew that works out of a former warehouse where bats and pigeons roost in the rafters. Collectors scavenge among hammered victims of an economy that never seems to work for them. Debtors include patsies, cheats, liars, bewildered shopaholics, and furiously dedicated deadbeats. All bought the American dream but couldn't pay the price.
"Bill collectors are like priests," says a crew member. "You can tell me anything."
Battered "schmoes" do just that, sharing secrets with collector-confessors who in some cases only recently exited the list of shame themselves.
A blue-skinned survivalist cop dreams of acceptance as he schemes to steal drug money; a young woman with a masters in library science waves to drivers from inside a chicken costume; a world-renowned author is picked clean by an ex-girlfriend; an Air Force navigator loses control as he transports corpses of the fallen back to the States; and lovers find each other at the other end of a collection call.
Meanwhile Bento struggles to elude a cell that's awaited him all along. As their paths intersects, characters' lives throb with humor, suspense, and the intensity that flows from human beings under relentless pressure.
"This amazing book is peopled by the lowest of the low: crooked cops, embezzling assistants, jailhouse bullies, bill collectors. It's also one of the year's funniest efforts, good-natured and warmhearted, with the author displaying great verbal skills and characters drawn from a remarkably fertile imagination. ... a banjo act before a darkening sky, a little bit Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., with howlingly funny dialogue. Don't let it slip by; this one needs lots of word of mouth to become the cult classic it deserves to be." —Booklist, starred review
"A sobering and triumphant read about the recent recession's effects on average Americans, the challenges ex-convicts face in society, and the bonds people forge in unlikely circumstances." —Publishers Weekly
"In the Debtor Class, readers can smile, laugh, frown and weep; they might even feel blue. But hope springs eternal when humanity runs deep, and the sort of faith that friends have in each other might one day even move mountains. It's an enthralling read, that really doesn't want to let go when the last page is turned." —Sheila's Reviews
The Debtor Class is the fifth novel from New York Times best-selling author IVAN G. GOLDMAN. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times and elsewhere. He lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
|Author||Ivan G. Goldman|