"I think the most beautiful things in the world are things in flux," says Kat Warren-Bineki, the heroine of Nude Walker. Everything about Kat's world is in flux. She hails from Warrenside, Pennsylvania, a once prosperous town named after her mother's family. With the death of the steel industry, Warrenside has fallen on hard times; when its economy falters, Kat and her parents are among the few citizens still eking out a living there.
And then there's Kat's love life. As the young, beautiful granddaughter of a proud old-guard industrialist, she has plenty of suitors and a longtime boyfriend; certainly she has no business falling in love with Max Asad. After all, Max is the aloof only son of a newly arrived Lebanese entrepreneur who, despite the resistance of Warrenside's traditionalists, has bought up most of its dilapidated downtown and is trying to get it off life support.
But when Max and Kat return from Afghanistan, where both served with the National Guard, they share a series of intriguing encounters, and soon neither can deny that their romance has changed them. Kat forfeits her social standing by declaring love for a bitterly resented foreigner, and when Max's heart wins out, he jeopardizes his father's dreams for a brighter, better Warrenside. As their families feud (sometimes comically, sometimes ferociously), the old town braces for an epic flood, and the city's denizens try frantically to realize their ambitions—with love, lust, insurance fraud, hallucinations . . . any means of outrunning their obsolescence.
Above all, Nude Walker is a story of forbidden love seen through the prism of post-industrial America. Bathsheba Monk writes with flinty wit and warm spirit, but she's unlike other writers we know. In a voice as true as it is disarming, she depicts the kaleidoscopic tensions between generations and cultures. As Library Journal said about her, "Monk makes us see that we are all exiles in a changing world." In Nude Walker, she offers an unlikely romance about the fantastical myths we weave to define ourselves in unmoored times.