The Motel of the Stars
publication date: 2008/11/01
trim: 9 x 6
price (paper): $15.95
ISBN (paper): 0
ISBN 13 (paper): 978-1-932511-66-6
From The Motel of the Stars
As Jason Sanderson drove the long hours east for another foreclosure, he followed signs and directions for only so long. Then he pulled over to listen to cicadas and distant afternoon thunder. He stood in the summer grass, the Joe Pye weeds, tall and purple-blossomed, and remembered himself as a boy, fields where he'd slipped from church with the rest of them to smoke cigarettes and to sip stolen medicinal whiskey. He took in the scents of late August, too sweet wild roses and the pitch-tar smell of coal, and he inexplicably remembered other times. Thirty-some years ago. Saigon. The slick scent of gun oil. The garlic and hard candy taste of some girl's mouth. He stood in the quiet of strange roadsides and the past was more real to him than now.
He was good at what he did—a job in foreclosures in the eastern part of Kentucky. He began his phone calls to potential clients with questions about the weather and family, or with jokes that Rosa said were over the top. What did the Dalai Lama say to the hot dog vendor? Make me one with everything. And when it came down to it, to home visits and demands, he hesitated. He knocked respectfully, pretended he was on a social call and accepted cups of coffee meant as last-minute stalling measures before the signed and dated documents were produced.
Today's foreclosure was for a motel with a name that sounded like Rita Hayworth and Frank Sinatra. The Motel of the Stars. The folder the general manager laid on his desk some time back was crammed with more photocopies concerning that motel than he could have counted. Purchase orders and bills, the last of which was for an outbuilding to double as storage for the motel and as an auto repair shop. Copies of overdue notices and notices of bank reclamation followed copies of threatening letters from lawyers, then notices from the credit bureau. Numerous calls to the owner of the motel, Frank Llewellyn, went unanswered. He had spoken once to a soft-voiced woman who had promised to send back payment, which had failed to materialize. The Motel of the Stars. Even with mirrored ceilings and magic-finger beds, the motel could not be saved.
The second title from the Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky LiteratureSelected as The Lit Life 2008 Novel of the Year
"McElmurray’s evocative second novel journeys into the New Age subculture, beginning with Kentucky repo man Jason Sanderson, still grieving for Sam, the son he lost 10 years ago. Desperate, Sanderson leaves his concerned wife to find his son’s former lover, Lory Llewellyn, who he believes can help him understand his loss. . . . [E]ventually McElmurray’s world begins to glow with magic possibilities. . . ."
"McElmurray’s lyrical prose style sings off the page and easily into the heart. With loveable characters and grounding dialogue, The Motel of the Stars plucks upon hidden chords of wisdom from the stratospheres of human consciousness."
—Adam Elenbaas, Reality Sandwich
"McElmurray, author of the nonfiction Surrendered Child, here offers a breathless, New Age-infused novel of redemption set in Kentucky and North Carolina at the time of the 1997 Anniversary of the Harmonic Convergence, an alignment of the planets said to portend peace."
—Ann Fisher, Library Journal
"How long does it take to get over the loss of someone. . . who means everything to you? It is challenging to tackle the subject of death and not sink into maudlin depths, but McElmurray succeeds. This is a melancholy book in which the sentences sing."
—Carol Ann Fitzgerald, Oxford American