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The Washington Story: A Novel in Five Spheresby Adam Langer
Synopses & Reviews
The irresistible follow-up to Adam Langer's debut hit, Crossing California — "the most vivid novel about Chicago since Saul Bellow's Herzog and the most ambitious debut set in Chicago since Philip Roth's Letting Go" (Chicago Tribune).
More than a year and a half has passed since Jill Wasserstrom tried to catch up to Muley Wills in West Rogers Park. Now, they are high school students in love, but will their relationship survive as their world expands beyond the boundaries of West Rogers Park? Over the course of five years — from 1982 to 1987 — Jill, Muley, and their families and friends will experience love, betrayal, re-unions, sex, death, and rebirth. They will live through years of triumph and despair — the deaths of Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, and Konstantin Chernenko and the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev; the death of the Chicago political machine and the rise and fall of Harold Washington; the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and the arrival of Halley's Comet. They will travel from Chicago to Cape Canaveral, Florida, to New York, Europe, and beyond. And once again, Jill and Muley will find themselves on a street corner in a very different Chicago from the one they first knew.
"Langer's dense, sprawling follow up to Crossing California features the same ambitious clutch of high-schoolers on the cusp of Harold Washington's bid for Chicago mayor in 1982. In the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of West Rogers Park, junior Jill Wasserstrom works as a cub reporter for the Lane Leader and entertains a crush on irreverent senior editor Wes Sullivan; Jill's usual boyfriend, Muley Wills, is in Cape Canaveral working on the space shuttle Columbia and bedding his seductive lab partner. Jill's sister, Michelle, pops in from New York to snag the lead role in Mel Coleman's film Godfathers of Soul, and embarks on a hot affair with the director, who's black, 20 years her senior and dating Muley's mother. Wes is exposed for fabricating his stories on race, and Jill heads off to Vassar, where she becomes involved with the local Miscellany News and rekindles contact with her grandmother. An eloquent final chapter, 'Kaddish,' takes place at the time of the Challenger liftoff and the passing of Halley's Comet, when Muley's producer father is gunned down in his studio. Though overflowing with plot lines and detail, Langer's latest is another fine portrait of an era, a city and its very human inhabitants. Agent, Marly Rusoff. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"One hopes that a third installment, taking us into the '90s, is not too far off. Another richly detailed and overstuffed novel, both joyful and heartbreaking." Kirkus Reviews
"[Y]ou rarely feel that Langer's story is heading anywhere; it meanders, as if sniffing around for big ideas...." Washington Post
"The Washington Story presents itself as a document preserving the memory of a specific time and place, but it's really an acute and sympathetic account of what it's like to be young — anytime, anywhere." Los Angeles Times
"Langer has produced a tender and generous book....A careful craftsman, Langer has woven in enough back story for the sequel to stand on its own merits." Chicago Tribune
"The Washington Story may be set in Chicago, but in the end it's universally appealing, an insightful vision of our comical, sad, infuriating, wonderful lives." Miami Herald
"Langer is more journalist than storyteller...and he captures this tiny, almost forgotten enclave of the city like a veteran documentary filmmaker." Chicago Sun-Times
In The Washington Story, Adam Langer revisits his extraordinary cast of characters from Crossing California, each inextricably linked by love, betrayal, reunions, sex, death, and rebirth-and all holding out hope that their dreams are worth pursuing, as they come of age in a very particular time in American history.
The irresistible follow-up to Langer's debut hit, "Crossing California" is described as "the most vivid novel about Chicago since Saul Bellow's "Herzog" and the most ambitious debut set in Chicago since Philip Roth's "Letting Go"" ("Chicago Tribune").
About the Author
Adam Langer has worked extensively as a print journalist, film producer, and playwright, and has been featured on NPR, CNN Headline News, Fox News, and E! Entertainment Television. Langer is a former senior editor of Book magazine and a recipient of a National Arts Journalism Fellowship at Columbia University.
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