Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812975529, 245pp.
Publication Date: March 24, 2009
Ever reliable and responsible, Otis Halstead is a father, a husband (one half of a “well-dressed couple of substance”), and the CEO of Kansas Central Fire and Casualty. He has never done anything out of the ordinary. Until now. The change in Otis starts with the acquisition of an antique toy fire truck, the exact model he had pined for at age ten but never received. Next comes a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun. But Otis’s real coup is the purchase of his one true childhood passion: a red 1952 Cushman Pacemaker motor scooter. For his baffled wife, Sally, this is the final straw. She insists that he see a shrink.
But when tragedy strikes uncomfortably close to home, Otis decides he wants out of his sensible, safe life in Eureka, Kansas. And so, a few weeks before his sixtieth birthday, Otis leaves town, heading west on old U.S. 56, a corporate CEO riding a forty-year-old motor scooter with a BB gun strapped to the side. One might say he was in for an adventure. Otis would say he was finally about to experience life.
“A nutty, likable romp [that] quickly takes on a deeper resonance that is certain to please readers . . . quite moving.”—Washington Post
“[Jim Lehrer’s] sly, winsome, and crafty stories always celebrate the ordinary, confront some elemental issue of being human . . . and give us characters whose essential decency stays with the reader. . . . Eureka does all of those things. In fact, it may be Lehrer’s best novel yet.”—Booklist, starred review
“Calamity gives way to poignancy in this consistently fun story buoyed by an endearing protagonist readers will cheer for.”—Publishers Weekly
“Crisply executed . . . Irony seldom drips with such humor and grace.”—Texas Monthly