The Unexpected Guest: How a Homeless Man from the Streets of L.A. Redefined Our Home

Michael Konik (Author)


In this stirring memoir, discover the timely story of a couple who takes in a homeless man and the life-altering effect the experience has on all three of them.

For years, "Fisher King Mike" wandered L.A., preaching to his people. On occasion he'd share an open mic night with Michael Konik, who offered a curious and sympathetic ear, particularly when the Fisher King lamented his separation from his wife (who he claimed was Selena Gomez). As the pair began to trust one another, confusion and distance gave way to something that astounded them both.

The Unexpected Guest gives love profound new dimensions with its story of family, friendship, and the meaning of home. Konik offered food and a pair of pants when his new friend came by, and wondered how much he owed the troubled Fisher King--a question all of America faces with the nation's ongoing homelessness crisis. When Konik and his wife gave Fisher King Mike a place in their home, handy as he turned out to be with household projects, they witnessed a guest become a caretaker. Gone was the man who gave sermons about his supposed estate next door to Kanye West. Gone was the man drifting through life. What each never saw coming was their own transformation and the lessons they'd learn about what it means not only to be good people, but simply to be human.

Product Details

$17.99  $16.55
Diversion Books
Publish Date
May 05, 2020
5.5 X 0.8 X 8.2 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Michael Konik is the bestselling author of twelve books, among them The Smart Money and Ella in Europe. Winner of the 2016 Barrelhouse Prize for his novel Year 14, Konik has been published in more than one hundred magazines, including the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Maxim. Dubbed "the dean of the world's gambling writers," his previous vocations include serving as an expert commentator on numerous FoxSports poker broadcasts, writing the golf column for Delta Sky, and performing as an improv comedian, jazz singer, and poet. Konik lives with his wife, Charmaine, and dog in Los Angeles, California.


Advance Praise for The Unexpected Guest
"L.A. couple Michael Konik and Charmaine Clamor gradually welcome Fisher King Mike, homeless and mentally ill, off the streets into their home--sparking an oft times frustrating, funny, and poignant life-changing event in all three lives. Heartwarming, compassionate, and well-crafted, The Unexpected Guest gives voice to those rarely heard, compels you to look closer when you want to look away, and reveals the joy of caring for others."--Pete Earley, author of Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness, 2007 Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

"What a pleasure to read a book that is quick in pace, absent of cynicism, and packed with conversations and stories we desperately need. The Unexpected Guest exceeded my already high expectations. Michael Konik does something that few journalists, let alone politicians even attempt to do. He humanizes the people who are without shelter. I won't be soon forgetting 'Fisher King Mike.'" --Dave Zirin, The Nation

"The Unexpected Guest is a deft meditation on the ordinary magic that happens when you open your heart and home, one small step at a time. Poignant, timely, compulsively readable. Konik's story of family lingers long after the last page."--Jack McCallum, New York Times bestselling author of Dream Team

"Just as Fisher King Mike embedded himself in Michael Konik's home, this story quickly establishes an enduring residence in a reader's mind. The Unexpected Guest illuminates an urgent topic with an easy conviviality." --John Temple, author of American Pain: How a Young Felon and His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America's Deadliest Drug Epidemic

"One privileged LA couple tastes the labyrinthine magnitude of the city's homelessness epidemic when they invite one of those chronically affected to live in their backyard guest cottage....Konik has an amusing storytelling style that keeps the pages turning. Honest and entertaining, this book forces readers to confront the systems of inequality in which we are all implicated." --Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Man with the $100,000 Breasts (1999):
"If we were gambling men, we'd give big odds you'll like Konik's book." -- Maxim

Praise for In Search of Burningbush (2004):
"Few authors write as passionately about the game of golf as Michael Konik. In Search of Burningbush communicates why the greatest sport in the world has touched so many lives so deeply, including mine." -- Jack Nicklaus

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with golf." -- USA TODAY

Praise for Ella in Europe (2005):
"A highly convivial tour with dog. These pages offer plenty of easy fun, but they tug at something deeper as well. Ella tends to bring out the best in people, and she certainly brings it out in her owner." -- Kirkus Review

Praise for Making It (2014):
"Add Konik's name to Sinclair Lewis, Nathanael West and William Goldman on the list of Hollywood's greatest satirists. Scorching, burning writing that blurs the line between reality and imagination." -- Publishers Weekly