Not since James Bond have we witnessed such a “spectacular mesomorph, built of nothing except large quantities of bone, sinew and muscle.” Indeed, his body introduces him:
…with his shirt off most people saw only his scars. He had a dozen minor nicks and cuts plus a dimpled 38 bullet hole in the left center of his chest and a wicked spider web of white lacerations low down on the right side of his abdomen all crisscrossed and puckered by 70 clumsy stitches done quick and dirty in a MASH unit…
There is a dreamlike quality to a story that takes place between an emotion and the town which bears its name, between despair and Despair.
This is the story of a jobless, homeless, carless, friendless stranger who walks into a diner and waits. And waits. The waitress never comes. After not eating, Jack is arrested for vagrancy, charged, tried, driven to the boundary, dumped in Hope and told to go away. He doesn’t.