by Taylor Field
Squat is set in an inner-city environment, and tells the story of characters whose names hardly sound like names at all. For most of the people who read the book, it will be quite an unfamiliar landscape, and the rules of the survival game in that world are somewhat different than those most readers face each day.
The book is targeted specifically at those readers who find this world so unfamiliar. It seeks to bring us nearer, to make the problems, in all their urgencies, seem more real, more believable, to us. And, at least for this reader, it works.
The use of workers at a downtown food and shelter mission works to bring us into this foreign world. Those are the people more like us (though perhaps armed with a little more compassion than most of us, if we are honest). They are not, however, the main characters. And part of what is effective about their appearance in the novel is the way we get a little glimpse of how these "outsiders" are viewed by the "street people" who are at the center of the action.
Squat is a good read. I finished it in a day or two, hardly able to put it down. It is one I can gladly recommend to other readers.
Reviewed by Shelly Bryant 2009
From Squat: a Novel
Squat, by Taylor Field, is a fictionalized interpretation of the author's experiences working as a missionary to homeless people. The objective of Field's first novel is to bring the problem of homelessness to the attention of those who have an address, a checkbook, and a conscience.
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