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The old neighborhood was the place that Joe Mackall left. It was a place where everyone’s parents worked at the factory at the dead end of the street, where the Catholic church operated like a religious city hall, and where he grew up vowing to get out as soon as he could and to shed his blue-collar beginnings and failed, flawed religion.
When the mysterious death of a childhood friend draws him back to the last street before Cleveland, however, he discovers that there is more to “old haunts” than mere words—and more to severing one’s roots than just getting away.
The Last Street Before Cleveland chronicles Mackall’s descent into his past: the story of how, looking for answers about his lost friend, he stumbles onto larger questions about himself. With clear-eyed candor, Mackall describes the resurfacing of dormant demons, the opening of the old chasms of depression and addiction, and the discovery, at rock bottom, of a flickering faith that casts a surprising light over everything that has come before. Mackall’s is, finally, a story about life—lived and lost, given and earned.