"Waste not, want not" goes the aphorism, and Jonathan Miles's second novel explores both themes to their fullest extent: the concept of waste from lives spent profligately to garbage and excrement and ordinary people's conflicting desires. In three interlocking story lines, Miles looks for what is really of human value at a time when everything seems disposable and possessions both material and digital can exert a dispiriting tyranny.
As the novel opens in 2007, Thanksgiving finds New York City buried under an early snowstorm. The nation's annual excuse for gluttony makes a perfect metaphorical setting for Miles's exposé of food waste and consumerist excess. Even this time of feasting has a dark side, with Talmadge Bertrand, the first of three main characters, rummaging in trash bags outside Key Foods for edible pastries and produce. This ...
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