This Is What We Do
By Tom Hansen
(Emergency Press, Paperback, 9780983693222, 314pp.)
Publication Date: January 15, 2013
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James Nethery is in a crisis. It’s not the first time the facade of his comfortable life has crumbled, but this time it's for good. On a whim he bolts to Paris. Alone, he wanders the streets until he meets Lily, a blacklisted Ukrainian model who is coming to her own painful realizations. A moment of unexpected violence changes everything, unleashing a chain of events that involves them in drugs and an emerging global revolution. Together they must decide between justice and vengeance, and, when forced to take action, between what is too much and not enough.
Tom Hansen is the author of American Junkie, a memoir of his life as a heroin addict and drug dealer. He writes for The Nervous Breakdown and is a contributing editor at KNOCK Magazine. Hansen lives in Seattle.
"A tight retro noir that's as equally comfortable channeling The Stranger as it is George V. Higgins. But there's also a sly anarchic subtext rumbling below the drugs-and-molls narrative, a welling need to bring plutocrat America to its knees. Where, of course, it belongs. This is What We Do is a love story. Or, to be more accurate, it's a story that's in love with its own existential indifference. But it's also Atlas Shrugged jammed in reverse and with the tires smoked. It's Ayn Rand for people with a brain. And a gun. It's a kick. Read it."
—Sean Beaudoin, author of You Killed Wesley Payne and The Infects
"Hansen's debut novel covers even wilder, trickier ground than his memoir, American Junkie. Anti-hero James Nethery seems an ordinary, lonely man drinking Coke at the bar, until he meets "Lily," a Ukrainian prostitute, and what began as a quiet, atmospheric meditation on down-and-out expats in Paris explodes into a nonstop, genre-blending noir-crime-vigilante-political-sexy-nihilistic-almost surreal thrill ride, infused in equal measures with brutality and beauty."
—Gina Frangello, author of My Sister’s Continent, Slut Lullabies, and A Life in Men
"There’s what people say, and then there’s what they do. The phrase will infect your consciousness, contorting and twisting itself around to take on more and more dimensions. What does it mean to act on our desires when one person’s wish fulfillment means another’s nightmare? What does it mean to be free, or to escape? At its core, This is What We Do gives us two people left with nothing, cutting close to the uncoolness of loving without fear." —Grace Krilanovich, author of The Orange Eats Creeps
Praise for Tom Hansen's American Junkie:
"American Junkie takes you to the gristle-chewing tracks of the gnarly Emerald City before the first wave of Sub Pop-loving kids arrived, back when our dreams here had more to do with New York City and Los Angeles than being known locally. It’s the period of post-punk fear and desperation that drives Hansen through most of the book that rings true for anyone who lived in the wastelands where the city’s clubs would spring up."
—Chris Estey, KEXP Radio, Seattle