The narrator, one of those ageless, featureless phantoms on the shoulder of the road, setting out now on his thirteenth cross-country hitch, begins by alluding to a certain haunting memory so terrible that screams in his head drown out the highway roar. Trusting that purchase on the reader's curiosity, he launches into a dismally exhaustive autobiography -- being beaten by his virago mom, loneliness and killing bouts of asthma, being down and out and mostly outside in points all over the drifter's atlas, hustling for jobs more demoralizing than idleness. That's not to say he leaves out the brighter spots. He doesn't neglect anything -- not a ride or a lay or his psychosomatic seizures -- and it's all delivered with the affectless flatness that deprived childhoods are supposed to produce. By the time the overdue crack-up comes you probably won't be feeling much either.