Eyan, homeless and all but invisible, drifts through the sundrenched streets, parks and boardwalks of Los Angeles, sometimes avoiding, sometimes seeking the shadows. A chance encounter with his childhood friend, Marc, leads Eyan to meet `the professor', an erudite and tragic figure who takes Eyan under his wing, reading to him from Milton's Paradise Lost in the lustrated light of the city at night. But these friendships also drag Eyan into the City of Angels' Skid Row, the largest homeless community in North America. There, the sinister Paul and his gang of black-garbed `eyeless boys' have established a reign of daily terror, committing murder after murder which the police are incapable of stopping. As tensions on the streets increase, the professor continues to read from Milton's great epic, and Eyan begins to wonder: if even the angels can find themselves at war, what hope, and what kind of home, exists for him?
Fair offers a lyrical and reflective glimpse into a vulnerable young man's struggle to survive in an indifferent, violent world.
In this spare, poetic novel, a young homeless man finds solace in friendship, falls prey to the machinations of a malevolent gang of thugs, and ultimately is swallowed up by the inevitability of consequences on the dangerous and deceptively sunny streets of L.A.
`The book's ultimate messages are in some ways straightforward, with Eyan a symbol of all the harmless individuals who slip through the cracks of a shamefully uncaring society. But the conclusions about who, or what is to blame for this are less clear--if there are indictments, they feel personal rather than structural. Fair ultimately leaves its readers to mull over the formidable Miltonian parallels around sin, fall, and redemption, and draw their own conclusions.'Phoebe Walker, The Manchester Review
`[Fair] made me step into a world where there is no meaning, or purpose, where every day is just a copy of the previous day, and people are ghosts in a mental state that is neither awake nor asleep. That middle place, where Eyan lives most of his life, is a tragic remembrance of all the people who are left behind by this society of ours. Broken lives, barely lived, and people who wonder around without a place to rest, owners only of their memories of what used to be a home.... I cried reading this novel, for Eyan, for the professor, for all who have to live out there, in the open.'A. B. Neilly
`Though the story plants itself in dark territory, it's not devoid of hope; Eyan's notebook is an especially potent indicator that he continually strives to understand those around him. Seaward's narrative is smoothly nonlinear, lucidly depicting flashbacks and memories. And while Eyan's perspective isn't strictly reliable (he's completely unaware of how much time passes), supporting characters are distinctive.... Relentlessly depressing but superbly composed story of a tragically lost soul.'Kirkus
- ReLit Award