Cates, David Allan
Cates, David Allan
PERSONAL: Male; married; wife's name Rosalie.
ADDRESSES: Home—141 Kensington Ave., Missoula, MT 59801. Office—Missoula Medical Aid, P.O. Box 903, Missoula, MT 59806. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer, guide, and management executive. Missoula Medical Aid, Missoula, MT, executive director. Has worked as a fishing guide and volunteer in schools, teaching writing classes.
AWARDS, HONORS: New York Times Notable Book designation, 1992, for Hunger in America.
Hunger in America, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1992.
X out of Wonderland: A Saga, Steerforth Press (Hanover, NH), 2005.
Contributor of articles and short stories to magazines, including Outside, New York Times Magazine, and Glimmer Train.
SIDELIGHTS: The author of two novels, David Allan Cates is also a guide and director of a Missoula-based foundation that takes doctors to work in Honduras. Cates's first novel, Hunger in America, was praised by a contributor for Publishers Weekly as a "beautifully controlled yet expansive tale," at once both "plaintive" and "eloquent." The novel details one night in the life of Jack Dempsey Cliff, a cab driver in the town of Kodiak, Alaska, and the various fares he picks up on his rounds. Cliff himself is on the run from his complicated past life in Wisconsin, and the people he deals with in Alaska also have their share of burdens to resolve. Hunger in America was a New York Times notable book when published in 1992.
Thirteen years later Cates published his second novel, X out of Wonderland: A Saga. Compared by some reviewers to eighteenth-century Swiss writer Voltaire's famous satiric work, Candide, this slender novel is also a picaresque adventure, with the book's protagonist, X, going out into the world in search of his lost love, C. The "Wonderland" of the title is a country ruled by capitalism gone haywire, full of schemers and evil doers, with X moving innocently through it all, chastened and often threatened by it, but surviving. Cates manages to skewer modern trends from globalism to sweatshop labor in this "biting satire of modern capitalism," as a reviewer for Publishers Weekly described the novel. The same contributor felt that Cates is "caustic but never cynical." Similarly, a critic for Kirkus Reviews called Cates's second novel "a witty, skillful, amusing—and unrelentingly cleareyed—satire."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2005, review of X out of Wonderland: A Saga, p. 602.
Publishers Weekly, April 27, 1992, review of Hunger in America, p. 249; June 6, 2005, review of X out of Wonderland, p. 34.