Tweakerville: Life and Death in Hawaii's Ice World
In ¿Tweakerville,¿ the first novel by Alexei Melnick, we are drawn into Hawai'i¿s ice world. When the novel begins, narrator Jesse Gomes, a 17-year-old who runs drugs on his moped, is partying with his dealer and crew, stealing beer and fighting. Rain falls on the tarps covering the back yard; people throw bottles into the street; everyone is high. It is the best night of Jesse¿s life.The following morning, he wakes up next to a girl who has ODd on ice. They roll her body in a piece of carpet and drive to an isolated patch of forest, where Jesse digs her grave.The story, told largely in a brutal, flat pidgin, is chilling in its matter-of-factness and its refusal to either demonize or valorize characters who seem, from the outside at least, completely amoral. Empathetic readers will relate to the characters¿ desperation and social, economic, and political powerlessness¿even though the characters themselves are far beyond despair. Melnick shows us that Tweakerville exists right under our noses, if we would only bother to look.
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