I love stories about fringe societies and outsiders. Stories about lives that are so completely opposite of my own fascinate me. The theme is what really caught my attention in Cari Luna's debut novel, The Revolution of Every Day.
Set in the mid-90's, The Revolution of Every Day follows a group of squatters in New York City, who are forced into a legal battle to legitimize their claim on a building that they have occupied for over a decade. The story is not as simple as just a group fighting for their home, there is also plenty of tension in the group, as certain members question their role in the community and the depth of their commitment to the cause.
Luna tells her story through several different voices. There is Cat, a former junkie, turned leader and the resident old-timer of the group. Newly pregnant Amelia, a former teen runaway who was brought into the group by Gerrit, an expat from the Netherlands with a tragic past. Steve, a married man who is the father of Amelia's baby. Annie, Steve's unwitting wife, who joined the group to fight for social equality, but who longs to return to her middle-class roots. Luna's story is character based and although the fight for their home is a constant point of tension, the drama between the characters and the secrets that they hold within themselves, is really heart of the story.
All of the characters exist just at the edge of their individual breakpoint and the entire story is spent waiting to see who will crack first. It's surprising and engaging.
As always, Tin House has a great eye for debut authors. I read this book while on vacation and I absolutely couldn't put it down. Luna's rich characters and intense scenarios kept me wanting more. I flew through the story, needing to keep reading " just one more chapter" before bed or in stolen moments while waiting in lines at theme parks!
Luna's novel is a force to be reckoned with and I look forward to reading her future efforts.