Exiles in Eden
Life Among the Ruins of Florida's Great Recession
By Paul Reyes
(Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805091236, 272pp.)
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
List Price: $25.00*
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An on-the-ground, intimate tour of the human toll of the nation's foreclosure crisis
While working with his father's small company that "trashes out"— enters and empties—foreclosed homes in Florida, Paul Reyes wrote Exiles in Eden, a hard-hitting, personal, and poetic portrayal of his own family and the people and communities affected by the foreclosure crisis.
Grounded in Florida and Reyes family history, and with character-driven visits to the dark corners of this crisis—including with those who are calling for revolution—Reyes explores the human element of this frightening rattling of the American Dream. From examining the unique "ecosystems" of each failed mortgage to witnessing parts of abandoned Florida returning to its wild natural state, Reyes takes the reader far from the machinations of Wall Street to the sun-baked side streets where the true costs of this crisis can be seen. The result is an extraordinary book about the allure and dream of home—and a portrait of an America where the exiled insist on the right to their own America dreams, even as the terms are forcibly redrawn.
Paul Reyes's writing has appeared in the Oxford American, The New York Times, Harper's, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Details, the Mississippi Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review, and Slate. In 2010, he received a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Reyes lives in Tampa, Florida.