Jonathan Evison

Bainbridge novelist Jonathan Evison owns an old RV, which he uses as a mobile writing den, so it should be no surprise that a rickety van and a road trip figure in the plot of his The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (Algonquin, $23.95). Grieving, not-quite-divorced, and near destitute, Ben finds a job as a home aide to a wheelchair-bound teenager with muscular dystrophy. Trev's dolt of a father has long-since absconded to Utah, Ben takes a paternal interest in the kid, so they drive out of Bremerton to see the American West in all its tacky, motel-rific glory en route to SLC. On the road, they pick up three vagabonds, one a cute Goth chick who catches the eye of shy, virginal Trev. It that sounds like Little Miss Sunshine—well, it is, but in good way. Evison has an easy fluidity with the dashed dreams and disappointments of characters who don't ask for pity. Trev is obsessed with sex (duh), but is also a student of the Weather Channel and fashionable sneakers that never touch the ground. Ben, whose narration loops back to a family tragedy, is more the aggressive pessimist. Of the Montana scenery, he grumbles, "What good is all the grandeur if it's impermanent? Who wants to live in a world where suffering is the only thing that lasts?" But naturally Trev, not long for this world, teaches his driver to look forward through the windshield—just the way Hollywood likes. BRIAN MILLER

Wed., Aug. 29, 7 p.m.; Wed., Sept. 19, 7 p.m., 2012

 
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