THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB by Mike Magnuson

THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A white Wisconsin factory worker and a black college graduate team up as repo men, working the mean streets of Columbus, Ohio, in this unsettling but always surefooted dark comedy by a first-time Florida writer. Gunnar Lund is a very white man in a very black world, and he doesn't like it much. Having abandoned Sara, his fianc‚e, in northern Wisconsin, to follow neurotic single-mother Margaret to Columbus, where she's getting a master's degree in women's studies, Gunnar supports himself by cruising the city's inner city in a rattletrap Crown Rental van, repossessing local residents' rented TVs, refrigerators, and living room suites. Alienated by Margaret's rants against the male sex, guilty over his abandonment of Sara, and longing for his favorite Wisconsin drinking hole, Gunnar finds consolation only in the presence of Dewy Bishop, a black co-worker and Gunnar's linebacker-sized guardian angel. As the pair travel from one tough job to another, demanding back payments from teenaged mothers, West Virginia ""white-trash"" layabouts, and other marginalized victims of modern America, Dewy encourages Gunnar to delve ever deeper into the sin and degradation to which he seems terminally attracted. Everything Gunnar does in this urban no-man's land is ill-fated: When he tries to go for a bike ride, an increasingly unstable Margaret throws his beloved bike down the stairs; when he tries to do his job like a good repo man, he ends up killing an innocent guard-dog; and when he finally finds the courage to leave Margaret, she pours gasoline over herself and lights a match--leaving Gunnar with her ten-year-old son and a chance, though only a very slim one, to behave responsibly for a change. Just another tale of a white guy lost in a hard, violent world, but Magnuson's arresting prose and perfectly tuned ear for dialogue render the journey unforgettable.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0060928956
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperCollins