When you come from the South Bronx, you have the option of writing about different kinds of characters than those who so often inhabit the universe of fiction we’re used to. That was true of Beverly Gologorsky’s first novel, The Things We Do to Make It Home, which focused on the lost vets of the Vietnam era, their wives, and their children, all desperately trying to get by in a world that was anything but welcoming. It was no less true of the crew who worked in the roadside diner in her second novel, Stop Here, a kind of home away from home in an American world shadowed by war and financial disaster. And it’s even more powerfully so in her new novel, Every Body Has a Story, about two couples who barely made it out of South Bronx and into middle class homes when disaster struck and two administrations focused their attention on those who were “too big to fail,” rather than those who were too small not to be clobbered by the foreclosure crisis.
Today, not quite a decade later, we’re in an unparalleled new gilded age in which every advantage is offered to those — the 1% of the 1% — who are swallowing up American wealth, while a billionaire runs the country supported by an uber-rich cabinet (whose members don’t hesitate to suck government coffers dry for their own well-being). Meanwhile, the president’s family members rake in the dollars. In 2017, for instance, Ivanka pulled in $3.9 million just from her stake in Trump International Hotel, the family’s palace on Pennsylvania avenue that so many lobbyists and foreign diplomats now patronize to suck up to the president. This country has never seen anything like it or like the cruelty — from the U.S.-Mexico border to our inner cities — that’s now the order of the day when it comes to those too small not to fail. It’s the story from hell, even before the next too-big-to-fail moment hits and it’s a story that novelist Gologorsky knows from the bottom up.