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The sheer energy and passion and intensity, the linguistic virtuosity of Eric Miles Williamson's latest novel, WELCOME TO OAKLAND, will leave readers breathless. The vigor and uncensored redneck honesty of T-Bird Murphy's blue-collar voice will at turns delight, offend, amuse and enrage readers as T-Bird gives us what we're not supposed to hear: the groans, gritos and war-whoops of men when they're not behaving like gentlemen, when they're out of sight and earshot, when they're wrapped around their drinks at Dick's Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge or your local workingman's watering hole.
In WELCOME TO OAKLAND, the T-Bird Murphy of Williamson's internationally acclaimed novel, East Bay Grease, is now a man. He's been divorced twice, and he finds himself hiding out in a garage in rural Missouri for a reason we're never told, confused and stunned, shell-shocked by the hand life has dealt him. He opens his story, "I'm always happiest when I live in a dump, and I've lived in some serious shitholes," but it's difficult to believe him. What unfolds is the story of a workingman who tries his hardest to escape the hell of the Oakland ghetto, who finds honor in squalor, kinship among the broken divorcees of Dick's Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, dignity and beauty at the garbage dumps where he sleeps in the cab of the scow he drives for a living.