In the Seat of a Stranger’s Car
In the Seat of a Stranger’s Car is a vibrant comedy that looks under the hood at the entourage of working-class misfits you leave your car with every day. Set in the bubbling ethnic melting pot of Hawai‘i, the pseudo-intellectual protagonist is a struggling writer who teaches at a renowned prep school, by day.
By night, he is a full-time valet, surrounded by a lewd yet lovable cast of coworkers who challenge his misplaced sense of entitlement. The gang's service industry stasis is quickly shattered when they discover a young boy in the trunk of a deserted vehicle in the hotel parking lot.
Afraid of surrendering the abandoned child to foster care, the valets decide to raise the child as their own–a task that proves both absurd and transformative. Juggling jobs and a budding romance with a latenight flower girl, the narrator finds himself on a journey around the island to uncover the boy's mysterious past but unearths something much more meaningful in the process: himself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beau Flemister is an award-winning journalist from Kailua, Hawai‘i. While working in the valet parking industry on O‘ahu for 8 years after college, he taught creative writing to high school students, and traveled the world extensively (off valet tips) reporting for publications along the way. A former editor at Surfing Magazine, he has been published in VICE, Complex, Outside, FLUX, The Surfer’s Journal, and Hana Hou! magazines, among others.
Elevator Pitch: Is letting a robot steer your
prized vehicle any worse than handing the keys off to some kid in a red jacket? This novel, which may read like historical fiction someday, follows a group of hotel car valets as they navigate life on the margins in Hawaii-and collectively raise a child they find abandoned in a car’s trunk.
Very Brief Excerpt: “We are underground. We are robotic. Zombies. Move cars, take tips, hear numbers, move cars. Repeat. It is a strange role and these garages are filthy. The constant exhaust and fumes. These vehicles are clean and sleek, but always excreting, burping, farting gaseous waste.”
Surprising Factoid: If Mr. Flemister is to be believed, your worst fears about valets are correct: His characters do take other people’s cars for joy rides. And rifle through glove compartments. At least AVs can’t do that. Or can they?
—Aaron Stern, Wall Street Journal, 2019
“Hand your keys over to Beau Flemister, move over, fasten your safety belt, and let this talented young author and former valet take you on a rip-roaring ride through a dark paradise, down unfrequented byways beneath Honolulu’s slicker surfaces. A poi- gnant story of a valet’s effort to protect a young boy abandoned in the trunk of a car provides unique context for encounters with fellow valets, parking lot attendants, flower girls, gypsies, homeless vagrants, and a motley pack of other good-hearted ne’er-do- wells on the fringes of Hawaii’s more polite society. Portraits of those characters are rendered with sympathy, humor, and affection and Flemister’s keen ear captures their voices, his sharp eye their movements. It’s a thrilling ride from beginning to end.”
—Lee Siegel, author of Love In A Dead Language, A New York Times Book Review Notable Book Of The Year