For a young transgender man, life in late 80s small town America requires one thing – escape. After getting fired from his job, Sam persuades his best friend Gwen, with whom he once had an all-too-brief fling, to leave her fiance and run away with him to San Francisco.
On a road trip fraught with misadventure, Sam becomes increasingly aware he’s more comfortable living as a man than a woman and begins to experiment with this new identity. Arriving in San Francisco, the city of love, in the grip of the HIV epidemic, and needing money, Sam takes a job in a dubious AIDS clinic, finding himself drawn to its patients, including the luminous Magdalene.
As Sam, and the less-than-reliable Gwen, negotiate the community of leathers and strippers, misfits and oddballs, he begins to get a clearer idea of who he is, who he might be and where love might be found. But as his vision of the future becomes clearer can Sam make peace with the past, and at what cost?
The Cure for Lonely, Jessica Thummel’s award-winning debut, is a stunning portrait of one man’s struggle to break free of the bonds that life has bestowed and reach out for what is rightfully his.
‘This is the perfect cultural moment for this book– its energy and intelligence, its sophisticated understanding of gender, human nature and family. The novel’s sheer brio, though, its love of language kept me reading deep into the night. Fiction ought to have faith in its ability to gather and capture experience and this book is such a stellar example of this faith. As important as this story is, it’s also a joyride to see a writer working at the height of her powers.’ Rebecca Lee, author of Bobcat and Other Stories