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"Jeffrey Hannan has a gift for creating colorful, believable characters that you care about immediately." - Franklin Eagerton
Paying the rent
With his employer stock options worth nothing and a crippling tax bill ahead of him, Hugo Storm sits sheepishly in the office of an accountant days before the Great Bust of 2000.
"Eight hundred dollars," the accountant tells him.
"That's all I owe?" Hugo beams.
"No," replies the accountant. "That's my fee."
It's a sinking moment in the life of a young internet salesman for whom everything is on the verge of going south. It's also a symbolic moment for a generation represented by Hugo Storm, the lead character and principal narrator.
For anyone who lived and worked through the Internet boom - or even if you didn't - the novel evokes that time, its people and its sentiments masterfully. It charts seven years in the life of Hugo Storm, a genXer from New Jersey living in San Francisco, from the heights of the Boom, down through the Bust and ending at the teasing upswing of the real estate swell.
Although fixed in time, HugoSF is more than an historical chronicle. It's a cautionary tale of truth, work and economics that makes a reader ponder his or her own relationship to work. To the up and down cycles of economics. To families and friendship. And to the difficult realities we choose to avoid in our own lives: all those little stories we tell ourselves because it's…easier?
The great delight of HugoSF is that it's truthtelling bundled up in an ideal escape. If you love San Francisco and its myriad neighborhoods you'll be drawn into it, walking right alongside Hugo, his girlfriend, his best friend, and a collection of "colorful, believable characters that you care about immediately." If you've never been to San Francisco, you'll be aching to go.
Tagged by one reader as "Holden Caulfield meets Thomas Pynchon," HugoSF is a novel that is greater than the sum of its parts. Simple and self-effacing with an underlying complexity that's available to explore, if you dare, Hugo is also a great cuddle for a rainy day or lazy weekend. Unlike the seemingly endless supply of fabricated icons of celebrity, wealth and tragedy, Hugo Storm is a refreshing, truly American everyman elevated through storytelling into a hallmark character of our time.
Jacket Design: Sharee Robinson, MyGroove Design
Cover photos: Jennifer Marvin
Back jacket photo of author: Arvin Munoz.