- Santa Barbara, California is a beautiful coastal city of around 100,000 nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Its Spanish colonial heritage is marked by white buildings with red tiled roofs. Most people count themselves lucky to live here. But there are those whose luck has run out. They are the homeless of contemporary society: the war veterans with PTSD, the runaways from abusive relationships, the addicted and the discarded. For many of them, Santa Barbara is a last stop on a long disheartening journey. Yet, these homeless are above all individuals with full, complex life histories. This collection of stories imagines six of them.
- Joey White, born Giuseppe di Bianco, is on a quest: first, for the woman he loves, second, for his professional self, third, for a place to call home, and finally, for a family of his own. His life in the Brooklyn of the 1940s holds nothing more than a low-level job with the local Mafia family, the di Carlos. Running from the mob in search of the woman he loves, but does not love him, Joey travels to the West Coast with his cornet, and learns to play jazz. Later, an Army hitch puts him the middle of the Korean War, and then a rehab spell in Japan. From there, Joey re-enters American society in the booming post-war period, but his stay is short-lived. He eventually finds himself in Italy, the country from which his family had emigrated decades before. There, his life would unfold in ways he could never have predicted.
Ella Winters is a teenage prostitute hooked on methamphetamine. Her pimp, Jimmy Diaz, is a street punk, trying to make it in New York City. Johnny Russo is the social worker whose cases include that of Ella Winters, and who provokes Jimmy Diaz into rash action.
- Meet Chrismouse: a small, adventurous field mouse who is wont to explore the fields and the church near his home. But what happens when curiosity gets the best of him? Follow Chrismouse's journey as he finds himself first in the claws of a cat, and then in the pocket of a pastor, over what turns out to be one very exciting Christmas season. This is a tale of loyalty and friendship for every season of the year.
Humankind must find its way in an ever-changing natural world, visited by calamity after calamity over the course of two centuries in Four Tales of the Future. As time moves forward, natural disasters, sometimes fueled by climate change, sometimes by man-made accidents, grow more frequent, and humankind’s struggle to survive becomes more difficult. Buster, a small time criminal and grifter in twenty-first century New York City, first sees opportunity in social decay, then realizes there will be eminent disaster. He begins his flight north to escape the city that longer supports the life he once knew there. Time moves on into the twenty-second century, where James Wild Eagle, who is unsure of his own identity, tries to make a new life by moving south to Vermont from his native city of Chisasibi, Quebec and the Cree reservation where he was brought up. In the mid-twenty-second century, Father Eagleton, parish priest in New Hali, Nova Scotia, runs a rescue mission for runaway girls, one of whom has become his companion. As war, climate change, nuclear and natural disasters decimate the world that humanity has created, Father Eagleton finds himself shaken to his very soul. Half a century later, in New Hali, which has reverted to tribalism and mechanical technology, Brick, a strong, aggressive woman, and Willow, a sensitive, nurturing man, create a live for themselves amid the ruthlessness of the new social order.