One Way Down (Or Another)
One Way Down (Or Another) is a very modern, realistic portrayal of the gritty underbelly of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district by new author Calder G. Lorenz. The first-person narrative propels the reader into the shoes of the story’s main character–a lonely and misguided young man with no name, no prospects, and possibly no future. He works, he escapes reality, and he tells a story of the broken hearts and shattered dreams that shape up the very landscape he is living in. The rich details and the graphic way both people and places are expressed strike me as more of an art piece than a piece of literary fiction. A piece of philosophy wrapped up in layers of smoke and mirrors, painted by an artist that has faced his abyss and did not like what was facing back.
The story, as choppy and disjointed as its characters, is rough around the edges and yet you stay engaged. You want to see what comes next–from whether or not you return back to your old home, find redemption in money and pills, or finally accept the reality of your fate and move on. From the sketchy beginnings of the tale until the very heart-wrenching ending, this book was very odd and very metaphorical. It was emotional and yet detached, understanding what was happening but perceiving it as if it were happening to someone else. It forces the reader to become more introspective and reserved, questioning themselves and the life around them. After a while, the “you” and “I” bleeds into your own subconscious, as if this were a record of simply looking back and remembering a time in your own distant past. Reflecting back, this story really resonated with me. With my background, I was fortunate to not wander down the same paths as those described in One Way. Not everyone has a squeaky clean past, but not all get the salvation they crave. This book is a lesson on pain, recovery, facing your inner demons, and the grit of city living.
I would highly recommend this book. It’s vastly different than anything I’ve ever read before, and it has this real voice that mocks itself and yet utters the ugly truth in a very brash way. One Way is brash, unapologetic, and grimy…much like San Francisco herself. Edgy portraits of life in the city, depressing and graphic tales and trigger warnings ensue, and yet this gem of literary talent is something needed in this age of artificial glitz and unrealistic glamor. It is the one true voice in a crowd of liars and a greatly unappreciated find that is worth more than what meets the eye.
Civil Coping Mechanisms