The crowded joys and familiar despair of poor, back-alley life in postwar Pittsburgh have a hold on most people there. Still, there are those who need to escape. Jeremiah Henderson and his woman, Willet Mercer, who keep to themselves and look far too pretty for their own good, have set their sights on New York City. As they learn, however, making good is easier said than done. Left with no choice but to give in to the pimp who’d like to try Willet on for size before selling her to his clientele, Jeremiah and Willet try to focus on the future. But in the last moments before letting the pimp have his way with her, Willet balks, stabbing him to death in the back of his parked Buick. If they are both horrified by what she’s done, Jeremiah and Willet are nonetheless now flush with the pimp’s fat wad of cash, his heavy rings, and his fancy car. And for a moment, it looks as if their dreams may finally come true. With New York on their minds and Pittsburgh behind them, they drive south to make one last stop outside Wilmington, North Carolina, where Willet intends to see the little boy she long ago abandoned.
Told over the course of five days and nights in the summer of 1950, as the Korean War is brewing, this is a story of crime, punishment, and loss that will never be forgotten. Carried along by the same voice and insight that have earned Albert French so much praise already, I Can’t Wait on God is his most beautiful and important book to date.
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