Firework by Eugene Martin
Jelonnek is a blue collar Midwesterner trapped in a life he is almost sure he wants to escape. Driven by a dim yearning to transcend, he makes the first real choice of his life when a simple errand to a convenience store escalates into a terrifying encounter. He soon finds himself on a cross-country odyssey with a woman he barely knows and her young daughter, in search of escape and new beginnings. They find shelter in an isolated existence at the edge of the country, only to be besieged by threats from outside and, finally, from within. A descent into paranoia, nascent violence and sexuality follows, culminating in a one-man Armageddon and an aftermath as hopeful as it is horrifying.
Firework is the story of a man who, though ill-equipped to help himself, attempts to help someone else, and the beautifully rendered, perhaps necessary catastrophe that results. Unequaled in intensity, it is also an exhilarating expression of the noble, all-too human impulse to become more than what we seem to be.