In the Seat of a Stranger's Car


In the Seat of a Stranger's Car


A tale about parking in Paradise.

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, by day, the pseudo-intellectual protagonist is a struggling writer who teaches at a renowned prep school.

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.

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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. Zornbies. 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