Journeyman by Rick Neumayer


PATE MERWIN both uses his head and longs for magic in resolving his questions about how-to-live meaningfully (and simply how to survive). Like Huck Finn, he lights out for the territory—thumbs his way with a faithful friend from midAmerica to the prairie, to the mountains, across the deserts, to the sea, San Francisco & Haight-Ashbury, after its heyday. His and ours is a country scarred by its original sins of both the deep past and the present: the treatment of African Americans, Native Americans, women, children, and all those who would speak peace to unwarranted foreign wars. And, what's more: structurally, this book is a two-layer cake of past and present--just like the lives we live, right? This honest, funny, and heartbreaking novel delivers everything a reader could wish for in the way of action, characters who are convincing and engaging and ideas worth pondering. Journeyman could well join the ranks of classic, always-need, must-have literature.

- Sena Jeter Naslund
Author of Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits, Abundance, The Fountain of St. James Court & The Disobedience of Water: Short Stories

Journeyman is available at the website of my publisher Fleur-de-Lis Press, and the other booksellers listed below.

Carmichael’s Bookstore

Barnes & Noble


Journeyman Reviews

“Two intrepid young men set out from Kentucky to retrace the westward peregrinations of Kerouac and Cassady, twenty years after the fact, with tragic results for one and life-changing consequences for the other. Journeyman is the survivor’s stirring, multi-layered account of their travels and travails, interwoven with recollections of the life he left behind. Rick Neumayer’s writing is direct and purposeful, and it propels us through these misadventures as though we were along for the ride.”

- Ed McClanahan
Author of The Natural Man, Famous People I Have Known, and other titles

“Rick Neumayer's Journeyman immerses the reader viscerally in the America of 1970-71, with a quixotic hitchhiking pilgrimage from Louisville to a San Francisco commune at its narrative center. It's a moving and provocative story of initiation during a time, not unlike our own, when the energy and possibilities of youth rub up against the complicated realities of a country divided by racial mistrust, generational misunderstanding, political fractiousness, and domestic and international instability.”

- K. L. Cook
Author of The Art of Disobedience, Marrying Kind & other titles

“If you lived through the Vietnam War era, you will recognize the deep truth of this novel; if you were not alive then, you will fathom the chaos and hope and heartbreak of those years and how they laid the foundation for the world we’re living now. This is a timely, generous book that deftly captures a powerful, heady, mind-bending time.”

- Eleanor Morse
Author of the novels Margreete’s Harbor, White Dog Fell From The Sky, Chopin’s Garden & An Unexpected Forest

Journeyman is a coming-of-age novel and part of a grand tradition of travelers-seekers. Idealistic, alienated young Pate Merwin teaches troubled inner-city students and falls in love with an African American woman who is a single parent. When his relationship and career founder, Pate hitchhikes to Haight Ashbury with a Navy vet who is now against the Vietnam War. They have romanticized the idea of being hippies—turning on, tuning in, and dropping out—but their dreams bring results they could not have foreseen.”

- Mary Popham
Author of Emmalene of Landing Run


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© 2021 Rick Neumayer