Hilton’s debut novel follows the drug-fueled adventures of a man and his motorcycle.
When Biddy Debeau’s girlfriend ODs in his house, he moves to a new neighborhood of Vancouver and attempts to turn his life around. When this fails—he’s just doing the same old things in a new apartment—he decides he needs to take to the road on a motorcycle, to find a fresh start out in the vastness of America. He embarks on a trip down the West Coast to Baja California, looking for meaning among the tequila holes and peeler bars south of the border. Unfortunately for Biddy, it isn’t long before his old luck catches up with him, and among the bikers and banditos of Mexico, he faces his most debauched ordeal yet. Hilton is as adept at channeling the full-swing hedonism of late nights as he is the sober desolation of early mornings: “Everyone is pretending nothing really happened because nothing really did. The sliding glass door is still wide open. A cool breeze has finally started blowing in, carrying with it the jarring sound of a nearby police siren. The girls lie against each other pecking their cell phones, and the Prophet is perched against the wall, barely holding his bottle. The night has moved on, Biddy thinks, and we’re the departed.” There’s nothing terribly new about Biddy—his forebears grace the pages of Kerouac, Brautigan, Hunter S. Thompson, and Denis Johnson—and there’s nothing terribly contemporary about him, either: cellphones aside, this novel could be set in any decade since the 1950s. Biddy’s self-awareness of his heritage is apparent, stripping him of some of his authenticity: “Biddy looks around the room and lets out an under-the-breath curse that he thinks makes him sound sort of like a young Clint Eastwood.” Perhaps a new generation of readers may find in Hilton the same satisfaction that past ones found in their own chroniclers of the empty road and the outlaw life.
An energetic, lyrical tale of debauchery and circumspection.