Cover image for You are here : a memoir of arrival
You are here : a memoir of arrival
Gibson, Wesley.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Back Bay Books/Little, Brown, [2004]

Physical Description:
248 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3557.I2263 Z478 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A wonderfully original tale of the disintegration and mutation of an apparently ordinary American family.--Alison Lurie.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The reality of living in New York is hardly the lifestyle viewed on Friends or Sex in the City. Case in point is Gibson, who shares his version of New York life in a funny and moving memoir about his move to the Big Apple. Once there, he is the typical starving artist--eking out an impoverished existence, struggling through a variety of meaningless jobs while trying to make it as a writer. Through a series of hilarious anecdotes, we learn about what it's like to set up a life in a new city--the gay roommate service, the search for employment, and the constant rationalization that this move was the right thing to do. His new roommate, John, has an unacknowledged illness and a strange past. Gibson's best friend and sole consolation (besides alcohol and tobacco) lives 200 miles away, but her phone conversations and occasional visits make his life a little more bearable. Gibson's witty stories will ring true to anyone who has struggled to make it in any new place, large or small. --Michael Spinella Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

When 30-something novelist Gibson (Shelter) moves to New York from Virginia, he plans to establish himself as a writer, get a day job and enjoy life in the city he's considered "the sunken treasure I'd been diving for my whole life." Instead, as this enigmatic memoir chronicles, he finds a strangely quiet apartment share, struggles to secure a menial job and rarely touches his computer. He barely sees his roommate, John, "who was as pale and waxy and elongated as a candle," whom he meets through a gay roommate service. But one night, Gibson is "bolted awake" by the sound of John coughing: "It sounded like he was being clawed to death from the inside out." Most of the book-which, although it gives no specific time references, probably takes place within the past 10 years-focuses on Gibson's attempts to help the seriously ill John (he has lung cancer). Using sharp, often witty language, Gibson also expounds on his job at Telesessions, where he facilitates conference calls for doctors; his childhood in the homophobic South; and frequent phone conversations with his friend Jo Ann, who lives in upstate New York. Though Gibson's story has insightful elements, it bogs down occasionally, as when Gibson details his efforts to rescue an obese neighbor from his bathroom. Gibson eventually lands a position teaching writing and searches for a new place to live, relieved to move on, yet aware that sometimes "friends were family, and family were strangers, and you might find yourself helping someone... because you'd been yoked to them by accidents of commerce." (Jan. 7) Forecast: Advertising in the New York Times Book Review and the New Yorker, and author appearances in New York, could help this book gain traction among new Manhattanites. The publisher plans to include a reading group guide in the finished book. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved