This series of powerful, intertwining stories illuminates Daley Kushner’s world—his family, friends, and community that have both formed and constrained him, and his new life in San Francisco. Back home, the desert preys on those who cannot conform: an alfalfa farmer on the outskirts of town; two young girls whose curiosity leads to danger; a black politician who once served as his school’s confederate mascot; Daley’s mother, an immigrant from Armenia; and Daley himself, introspective and queer. Meanwhile, in another desert on the other side of the world, war threatens to fracture Daley’s most meaningful—and most fraught—connection to home, his friendship with Robert Karinger.
A luminous debut, Desert Boys traces the development of towns into cities, of boys into men, and the haunting effects produced when the two transformations overlap. Both a bildungsroman and a portrait of a changing place, the stories mine the terrain between the desire to escape and the hunger to belong.
Desert Boys is in bookstores now. Order from: