Nickel and Dime by Gary Soto

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"I'm outta here! I got a future!" crows Roberto Silva when he is down-sized out of his job as a security guard at a bank in Oakland. But Roberto's future isn't the one he was looking forward to. This is the 1990s, and upward mobility in the city requires resources that Roberto is short of. Before he knows it, he is living in an abandoned quonset hut and then on the street, where he crosses paths with poet Silver Mendez, a survivor of the 1960s whose luck has run out, and Gus Hernandez, a compadre from his days at the bank. The ups and downs of the lives of men who are always looking for a way to earn a cup of coffee with plenty of sugar and cream, their desperate ingenuity, their hunger, their dauntless optimism have never been brought to life as vividly as in this sweet, sad, funny trio of interlocking stories by one of America's most original writers.

"An utterly distinct literary experience. No one writes like Gary Soto. Rather than falling into the trap of politicizing his subjects�blaming Anglos, blaming the church, blaming anyone at all�he simply presents the lives of these three men with emphasis on the minute details, the micro-decisions, the often-perverse impulses that actually comprise so much of human existence. By doing so, he achieves universality."--Gerald Haslam


About Gary Soto

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Gary Soto was born April 12, 1952, and raised in Fresno California. He graduated from Roosevelt High School and attended Fresno City College, graduating in 1974 with an English degree. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including The Nation, Plouqhshares, The Iowa Review, Ontario Review and Poetry, which has honored him with the Bess Hokin Prize and the Levinson Award and by featuring him in Poets in Person. He is one of the youngest poets to appear in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. Soto has received the Discovery-The Nation Prize, the U.S. Award of the International Poetry Forum, The California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award twice, a Recogniton of Merit from the Claremont Graduate School for Baseball in April, the Silver Medal from The Commonwealth Club of California, and the Tomás Rivera Prize, in addition to fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts twice, and the California Arts Council. For ITVS, he produced the film The Pool Party, which received the 1993 Andrew Carnegie Medal. Soto wrote the libretto for an opera titled Nerd-landia for the The Los Angeles Opera. In 1999 he received the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Author-Illustrator Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association, and the PEN Center West Book Award for Petty Crimes. He serves as Young People's Ambassador for the California Rural Legal Assistance and the United Farm Workers of America. Soto is the author of ten poetry collections for adults, with New and Selected Poems a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. His recollections Living Up the Street received a Before Columbus Foundation 1985 American Book Award.
Published January 1, 2000 by University of New Mexico Press. 197 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Soto, a National Book Award-nominated poet, prolific fiction writer (A Natural Man) and children's book author, is a versatile, unsentimental and clear storyteller, and his range of talents converge to illuminate the lives of these three Chicano men living in the shadows.

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