Fish, Soap and Bonds

Fish, Soap and Bonds follows the movements of three homeless persons on the unforgiving streets of Los Angeles. Through their eyes we experience both the depths and heights of humanity: hate and discrimination, sacrifice and redemption. This is the third in Fondation’s series of “LA Stories.”


Buy Now

“Fondation recognizes the social forces that contribute to their situation, but his unflinching look at the personality flaws of Fish, Soap and Bonds prevents them from becoming sentimental poster children. We care about them not because they’re cute but because they’re human. They struggle to make it in the world. Sometimes, the world screws them up. Sometimes, they screw up themselves. What lends them grace is that they keep trying.”
—The News & Observer

“Describing both the interrelatedness of people’s lives and their blissful obliviousness to it, Fondation presents this abstract and philosophical subject in a concrete, tangible manner that is carefully structured and lyrical throughout. Overall, Fish, Soap and Bonds is an enjoyable, eye-opening read. If you’re looking for a book that presents serious and difficult subject matter in an appealing way, this one’s for you.”
—Midwest Book Review

“…Larry Fondation delivers a solid punch to the soft white underbelly of L.A., and from this punch oozes a rich protein stew of ‘slush, …sludge, beer, whiskey, …piss on the floor, [and] Los Angeles Iced Tea.’ Even the ‘smell of shoe polish’ and booze cannot cover the putrid decay of barroom brawls, police brutality, and rabid dogs that pervade the lives of the unfortunate three. The hopelessly doomed trio deliver a powerful and poignant tale that rings far too true. Fondation is to be commended for the strength of his stomach in bringing to light the desperation of daily living that, sadly, is far too close to our own lives for comfort. It is enough to make those of us who have been homeless before weep. Those of you who have not, be grateful, but be scared: the dominant society is working hard to strip even you of all that makes you human.”
—Eckhard Gerdes, The Million-Year Centipede

“Satire, pastiche, precise detailing, formal dexterity—Fondation’s novel contains that and more—but what vibrates in the mind finally is the homeless themselves: the officially invisible made visible, and the author’s refusal to avert his eyes.”
—Harold Jaffe author of Terror-Dot-Gov

“In giving voice to the homeless, Fondation creates a vision of Los Angeles on par with that of Joan Didion and Nathaniel West in its style, originality and timely urgency. His startlingly beautiful prose reflects the complicated passions behind all that is stark in Los Angeles—the best gift a city could wish for.”
—Bett Williams, author of Girl Walking Backwards and The Wrestling Party

“Larry Fondation is one of the greatest contemporary English-language writers. If you think that’s hyperbole, you haven’t read him. He is as complex as Borges and as accessible and engaging as Elmore Leonard. With compassion but without pity, with tenderness but without sentimentality, always tough but never cruel, always loving but never blinded by love, always funny but never ironic, Fondation tells the story of America’s cities. His scenarios are bleak, but never despairing. For as long as Larry Fondation writes, no man, woman or stray dog is left unloved.”
—Barry Graham, author of Before and The Book of Man

“It was hard to imagine a book as good as Larry Fondation’s Angry Nights—and then he wrote Common Criminals. Now he’s given us his first full-blown novel—Fish, Soap and Bonds—and with it he’s entered the ranks of Steinbeck, Henry Roth, Henry Miller, and Frank Norris. Larry Fondation is America’s bareknuckled writer, our most fearless fictioneer. No one writing in the English language can deliver knockout blows like this guy. He’s one of the only writers alive whose lines I want to steal and call my own. What more can I say?”
—Eric Miles Williamson, author of East Bay Grease and Two-Up, Executive Editor of American Book Review