The Queen of Puerto Rico, by Joe Frank "Joe Frank has been called "the apostle of radio noir." In this first collection of stories, he takes us on an obsessive, violent, and sexual odyssey in which individual lives become emblematic of a larger spiritual crisis. He also captures on paper the same eerie speculation and humor he delivers in his late-night monologues on National Public Radio." "We meet characters who have jobs, not careers, who lead lives of half-steps, of rootlessness without cause. Frank's narratives result in a kaleidoscopic sense of time, wherein entire lives pass with a few brief moments of inchoate realization. Moments of comic lunacy blend with scenes of great poignancy and terror." "In the novella "Night," the protagonist wanders through a series of odd jobs, through prison, to Vietnam, to become the right-hand man of a television evangelist, and without any more purpose approaches his own death. In "Fat Man," a college student travels across the country stealing brownies from roadside Howard Johnsons and then spends the next year returning them. "Date" encapsulates a woman's entire life in her boyfriend's suggestions for her personal ad. "The Decline of the Spengler" is a wildly inventive radio play in which the narrative of a funeral is melded with the dreams of a playwright slowly slipping into madness." "In their desperation, the characters in Joe Frank's world, such as the "Fat Man," can only dream of meaningfulness: "You know, when I think about myself and the life I've led, I feel self-loathing, shame, and disgust. I'm a waste and a failure. But when I imagine myself as a character in a novel ... well, I think I'm pretty interesting, kind of off-beat, intriguing, entertaining."" "For years, Joe Frank's broadcasts have invited millions of listeners to the strange world of his mesmerizing stories. In this, his first book, Frank effortlessly segues to the printed page and imparts a new resonance to his narrative inventions."--BOOK JACKET.