Leave out the magic realism and switch from Albany, New York, to Stockton, California, and you might think you were reading William Kennedy. Leonard Gardener’s Fat City, despite the comparison to another excellent American author, is on it’s own a very good book.
If you know California, Stockton is not Sacramento; not San Francisco; not even San Jose. It is, however, an important hub for the commerce of California as a part of the major San Francisco economic zone. But Stockton has had its share of tough times. Wikipedia provides a depressing list of recent ills: