James Hannaham’s new novel, Delicious Foods (Little, Brown and Company), is a portrait of people living at the other end of the American dream. On the secluded industrial farm of its title, workers toil to pay back their debt for the privilege of eating and lodging there. But drugs are the key currency for these desperate laborers, including Darlene, a woman fleeing the pain of her husband’s death.
Hannaham weaves Darlene's story, shrewdly narrated in the voice of the crack cocaine that governs her existence, with that of her 11-year-old son, Eddie, who's on a desperate search to find her after she disappears. With its ragged Southern vernacular, clever personification, and horrific opening scene, Delicious Foods is violent and grim, but it’s ultimately a reminder of how, amid poverty and addiction, love can prevail.