Second Hand by Michael Zadoorian

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Synopsis

Richard, the owner of a secondhand store ("Satori Junk") just outside Detroit, finds his life changing all at once when his mother dies and he rummages in her basement for good junk. He meets Theresa, a thrift-attired junk goddess who shares his feelings for castaways, and he falls for her—hard.

At last, the novel for everyone who has ever loved something secondhand—the High Fidelity of garage sales, the On the Road of thrift shopping, The Moviegoer of the flea market. Richard owns a secondhand store ("Satori Junk") just outside Detroit. He's the kind of guy for whom not much happens, until it happens all at once: His mother dies. He rummages his parents' basement for good junk and finds (alongside "every purse my mother has ever owned since the Fifties") a box of photos that changes his view of everything. He falls apart over his mother's notes on his favorite meal in an old cookbook. He meets Theresa, a fellow hipster, a thrift-attired junk goddess who shares his feeling for castaways, and he falls for her—hard. Along the way he acquires some junk wisdom about love and loss. Richard's inimitable, hilarious, philosophical, self-deprecating, yearning voice, and his sharp and loving eye for common foibles and unexpected virtues make for a comic novel crammed full of surprise and pleasure. Second Hand is peppered with insight as unpretentious and satisfying as the unexpected garage sale find. Junk, Richard tells us, "has taught me that to find new use for an object discarded is an act of glistening purity. I have learned that a camera case makes a damn fine purse or that 40 copies of 'Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass's Whipped Cream and Other Delights' may be used to cover a wall of a bedroom. . . . Junk has taught me that all will come to junk eventually, and much sooner than you think."
 

About Michael Zadoorian

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Michael Zadoorian was born & raised in Detroit, Michigan. His short fiction has appeared in many journals, including "The Literary Review" & "American Short Fiction". He lives with his wife in a bungalow filled with many strange old objects & a death-row cat. "Second Hand" is his first novel.
 
Published March 1, 2000 by W. W. Norton & Company. 272 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Second Hand

Publishers Weekly

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(""When I die, I'll leave nothing but junk,"" the story begins.) Occasionally endowed with moments of genuinely witty vulnerability that save the narrative from becoming too flip, Richard's self-willed complacency is shattered by a series of events.

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Austin Chronicle

Zadoorian's protagonist, über-"junker" Richard, owns Satori Junk outside Detroit, and is the part loser/part prophet/part guru supreme of the thrift life.

May 12 2000 | Read Full Review of Second Hand

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