The Boy From
SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2023
About the Book
The Boy from Nowhere is a period piece memoir that depicts Richard Robison’s life as a boy who moves from town to town and school to school in his parents’ upwardly mobile quest of the American Dream. The story begins with Robison’s entry into fourth grade at a Rochester, New York city school where he finds himself, once again, the new kid in his class – his fourth school in four years. There he meets Matthias, a German American boy whose father was an American G.I. who helped liberate the Mauthausen concentration camp at the end of World War II. Another classmate and neighbor, a Jewish girl, Hannah, befriends him and introduces him to her family and Jewish culture. The unlikely alliance of Robison, Matthias, and Hannah grows through the school year until Robison is once again uprooted, this time to Buffalo, pulled in the slipstream of his father’s dream of a better life: money, status, a family well provided for.
By tenth grade – several moves and new schools later – Robison is floundering from a life of discontinuity and disconnection from friends, classmates, teammates, and ultimately even his parents. His father’s ambition and drive lead down a path of alcoholism, violence, and resultant family secrecy. His mother’s inability to protect him and extricate herself from a dream gone bad adds another layer of damage to an already lost boy.
But the memoir is not dark, not entirely, and includes passages where humor supplants pain, where activities – baseball, skiing, bicycling – provide positive experiences and healthy responses to the angst of teenage life. Robison reveals the importance of teachers both good and bad; of friends gained and lost; of girlfriends, real and longed for; of the need for empathy expressed and shared, and of the need for forgiveness. Always forgiveness. And there is music – always music – British Invasion, Soul, Psychedelic, and Protest – that serves as an anchor, to uplift, to console, to connect in an otherwise untethered life.
Praise for The Boy From Nowhere
"Offered with modesty and narrative grace, charged with heart-stopping events and characters."
– Stefanie Marlis, National Endowment for the Arts recipient and author of Rife
Where to Find the Book:
The Boy from Nowhere is available from Blackwater Press, Amazon, and independent bookstores throughout the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
Want to buy in-person? You can purchase the book from Talking Leaves bookstore in Buffalo, NY.
In the publication pipeline...
Richard Robison is currently working on his next book, A Prayer for Geneviève. Here's a preview of the future novel:
Geneviève Bellamy is an overprotected, only child who attended St. Gabriel’s School for Girls until it closed in 1981, the summer before her senior year. She convinces her parents to allow her to attend the local public school, James Madison High, where she meets J.P. Beaumont and forms the
most unlikely connection – the sheltered, classically trained pianist and the sullen student of rock music who communicates through mix tapes. They challenge each other’s beliefs in everything from the merits of Mozart v. Supertramp, to the existence of a benevolent God, to what drew them together. Was it similarity or difference? The trauma of their past or faith in their inherent goodness?
After graduation and summer jobs, they see each other only one more time, when J.P. visits her at
school in Montpelier, Vermont, and the cracks in their relationship are revealed. Twenty years later,
at their James Madison Class of 1982 reunion, he sees her name on the list of deceased classmates.
What happened? No one seems to know, but what he does know is that he won’t be at peace until
he finds out.