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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for Out of the Rain
Book cover for Out of the Rain

A debut novel from the award-winning journalist about the people in a San Francisco homeless shelter, and those who try to help—or prey on them.

“Ever since I first read Mr. Garcia's journalism I have admired his bravery and accuracy. This work reminds me of György Konrád‘s great novella The Case Worker.” —William T. Vollmann

"[T]here’s a writer named J. Malcolm Garcia who continually astounds me with his energy and empathy. I’ve been following him wherever he goes." Dave Eggers

Out of the Rain takes us into the growing world of the homeless in the United States, particularly in San Francisco. Here we read their powerful stories, which examine not just poverty but bottom-of-the-barrel destitution, and in many cases self-destruction.

Tom, who runs a social services agency, doesn’t play by a book of rules as much as try to bring some humanity to his work. Then there is Walter, a homeless man who can’t save himself from booze but is ready to help others. Throughout this novel told from various perspectives, the reader is introduced in intimate detail to the lives of social services workers trying to find open shelter beds and simultaneously navigating federal programs. Homeless men and women are battling sobriety and addiction and simply trying to find sustainable work and decent housing.

Based on the author’s experience working with homeless people in San Francisco as a social services worker in the 1980s and 1990s, this novel vividly takes the reader into the heads of combat veterans, junkies, prostitutes and the unemployed. J. Malcolm Garcia left social services to pursue journalism so he could write about the people he worked with and share their stories—and humanity—with the broader public.

“There weren’t enough shelter beds, weren’t enough detoxes, weren’t enough jobs, weren’t enough anything for the people I wanted to help.” —Tom, social worker, in Out of the Rain

Book cover for Out of the Rain
Book cover for Out of the Rain

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“Ever since I first read Mr. Garcia's journalism I have admired his bravery and accuracy. This work reminds me of György Konrad's great novella The Case Worker.

“Garcia is ruthless in bringing us deeply within the folds that embrace and bind people in circumstances that so quickly spiral beyond control. A powerful and deeply essential work for our times.”

Out of the Rain is an unflinching portrait of men and women on society’s margins. It conveys the nuances of homelessness, alcohol addiction, and ultimately recovery from the voices of both those in its throes and those who turn it around to help others. J. Malcolm Garcia delivers in this fine work a stunning feat of literary ventriloquism.”

“Out of the Rain is a deftly woven, deeply empathetic look at life in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, a neighborhood that has long been home to people struggling to survive on the streets, in treatment centers and ragged hotels. J. Malcolm Garcia has rendered a world we rarely see, of the intersecting issues faced by the homeless and those trying to help them. Too many of us look away, especially decades after this book when the Tenderloin gained a national reputation as a symbol of inner-city despair. But here is Garcia showing us the humanity and complexity of lives unfolding there. These are characters I will remember.”

J. Malcolm Garcia

J. MALCOLM GARCIA worked with homeless people in San Francisco for fourteen years before he made the jump into journalism in 1997. The tragedy of September 11th, 2001, gave him the opportunity to work in Afghanistan. Since then he has written on Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Chad, Haiti, Honduras, Egypt and Argentina among other countries. Garcia is the author of The Khaarijee: A Chronicle of Friendship and War in Kabul (Beacon 2009); What Wars Leave Behind: The Faceless and Forgotten (University of Missouri Press 2014); Without A Country: The Untold Story of America's Deported Veterans (Skyhorse Press 2017); and Riding through Katrina with the Red Baron's Ghost: A Memoir of Friendship, Family and a Life Writing Stories (Skyhorse Press 2018), as well as three books from Seven Stories Press, The Fruit of All My Grief: Lives in the Shadows of the American Dream (2018) and Most Dangerous, Most Unmerciful: Stories from Afghanistan (2022), and his debut novel, Out of the Rain (2024). Garcia is a recipient of the Studs Terkel Prize for writing about the working classes and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism. His work has been anthologized in Best American Travel Writing, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Best American Essays. He lives in San Diego.