Played out against the backdrop of the Gulf of Alaska, “where rocks are really rocks,” this is a novel full of “bad guys”: the inhabitants - and the strange invaders - of Chenega, an island work camp for juvenile delinquents. Among them are the fifteen-year-old half Aleut camper Harry, educated into a piercing purity of heart by the longtime need to keep his crazy brother from killing . . . and the intruders: Spike, a graduate of Chenega, educated into muddled vengefulness by prison after prison; his enormously fat and naive companion, Wesley, a drifter who is guided in his travels by the World Spirit; and Wesley’s driven, anorexic daughter, Amolia.
As, with wild ineptitude, the three “terrorists” make their way toward Chenega to lay siege to the camp; as Harry scours the dictionary for language (“you noxious miasma, you pusillanimous pismire”) that will permit self-expression in the face of the No Swearing rule; and as the on-island director’s wistful game plan of teaching the campers Trust metamorphoses into a mass breakout, Bad Guys careens through an absurd and heart-stopping moment of violence to a climax that is a celebration of innocence and courage.
Original title: Bad Guys
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Troubled Lives