Winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Francis Phelan, ex-big-leaguer, part-time gravedigger, full-time bum with the gift of gab, is back in town. He left Albany twenty-two years earlier after he dropped his infant son accidentally, and the boy died. Now he's on the way back to the wife and home he abandoned, haunted at every corner by the ghosts of his violent life. Francis; his wino ladyfriend of nine years, Helen; and his stumblebum pal, Rudy, shuffle their ragtag way through the city's bleakest streets, surviving on gumption, muscatel, and black wit. Destiny is not their business.