At twenty-eight years old, Eli “Berg” Koenigsberg has never encountered a challenge he couldn’t push through – until a concussion leaves him with a lingering headache and a weakness for opiates. Berg moves to a remote Northern California town to seek space and time to recover, but soon finds himself breaking into homes in search of pills. Addled by addiction and chronic pain, Berg meets Alejandro, a reclusive master boatbuilder, and begins to see a path forward. Alejandro offers Berg honest labor, but more important a new approach to his suffering, a template for survival amidst intense pain. Nurtured by his friendship with Alejandro and aided by the comradeship of many of Talinas’s colorful residents, Berg begins to return to himself. Written in gleaming prose, this is a story about resilience, community, and what it takes to win back your soul.
“This is an utterly beautiful book. To read it is to understand that you have been waiting for it.” —Alejandro Zambra
Daniel Gumbiner was born and raised in Northern California. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 and now lives in Southern Nevada. This is his first novel.
James Yeh is a writer and features editor at the Believer. A cofounder of Gigantic and former culture editor at VICE, his writing and other literary work have appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, NOON, Harper's Magazine, and Playboy.