The University of Wisconsin Press

Fiction / Gay & Lesbian Interest

Tramps Like Us
A Novel
Joe Westmoreland

Tramps Like Us is a modern-day Huckleberry Finn.

It’s an all-American story about the search for home, for a better life, feeling like a refugee in one’s own country. It’s about creating a family from a group of misfits. It tells what it was like to come of age in the era between gay liberation and the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

Joe Westmoreland writes better than we deserve, and his simple sentences are each one a little marvel of sophistication and purity. Tramps Like Us has that American manifest destiny magic, crisscrossing highways, California sunsets, the endless search for spiritual truth in a benighted era. And its two heroes, one who’s seen everything, the other a perfect beginner, will have readers thinking not only of Jack Kerouac and Route 66 but of Huckleberry Finn itself. In the annals of travel writing, Westmoreland’s picture of a bygone, enchanted, troubling San Francisco and indeed the whole U.S.A. will live forever. I kept searching his book for his secret, but like the song says, Little Joe never once gave it away.”
—Kevin Killian

Joe Westmoreland has contributed to many periodicals and to the anthologies Discontents (New Queer Writers), Best American Gay Fiction of 1996, Queer 13: Lesbian and Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade, and Latin Lovers: True Stories of Latin Men In Love. He lives in New York City.

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September 2003
LC: 2003050139 PS
352 pp.   6 x 9  

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Tramps Like Us charts an incredible moment in the 70s and 80s when the young roamed around America like wild dogs, having sex and taking drugs, concerned about clothes and music, and enjoying the landscape. From here it seems fantastic. So much of that land is gone, yet this writer speaks like a sweet and unworldly citizen of a place youd like to know. Sometimes its just plain youth. As told to Joe.
—Eileen Myles

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