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Synopses & Reviews
A kaleidoscopic novel about our last American century
A skipper plies the waters of the South Pacific, running ammunition and passing the time with navy buddies McHale and Jack Kennedy, remembering the sweet caress of Screw-Me Susie. A New York millionaire reunites with his prep school classmate Alger Hiss, and journeys to an unusual downtown cafe to meet a bearded friend. A young woman and her confidante Daisy Buchanan sink into the languor of the Hamptons and Provincetown. A buxom redhead from Alabam-dont-give-a-damn travels to Hollywood, in search of fame and fortune. A charismatic professor assists Robert Oppenheimer with his desert calculations and is henceforth the author of every American political conspiracy. And Mary-Ann Kilroy leaves Russell, Kansas, for Paris and love, only to discover that you can never go home (nor leave the island).
But beneath these stories is the story of their author, an institutionalized shadow man who has twisted the histories of six characters into a pastiche of American history.
"A heck of a lot of fun...Carson takes the most surreal of TV and makes it more surreal." Fortune
"Carson's clever gags try readers' patience, and some of the pieces are a bit thin. Still, the pastiche is surprisingly smart and entertaining; it offers some genuinely inspired sketches for those who know their television — and their Cold War history." Publishers Weekly
"Only a novelist on Tom Carson's sweeping intelligence and punk but not pitiless iconoclasm could have written this epic: audacious and original, subversive and often very funny, and spectacularly played out in the interzone between American glory and madness." Steve Erickson, author of The Sea Came in at Midnight
In this kaleidoscopic novel about the last American century, an institutionalized shadow man combines twisted histories of six characters (a skipper, a millionaire, a rich woman, an actress, a professor, and one Mary-Ann Kilroy) into a pastiche of this country's history.
In this kaleidoscopic fantasy, seven uniquely familiar narrators recall the last American century. An old salt shares his memories of fellow PT-boat skipper Jack Kennedy. A New York millionaire gets Alger Hiss a job. An ex-debutante reveals her Jazz Age friendship with The Great Gatsby's Daisy Buchanan. A Dixie redhead dishes up the inside scoop on the Rat Pack. A scientist confesses to his part in every event from Los Alamos to Watergate. And Mary-Ann Kilroy of Russell, Kansas finds romance in Paris before learning why she'll never leave the island. But behind them lurks the man who keeps insisting that his name isn't Gilligan--and who's inventing this brilliant, poignant comic collage for reasons of his own.
About the Author
Tom Carson won a 2000 National Magazine Award for his work as Esquires “Screen” columnist. A longtime writer on pop culture and politics for The Village Voice and LA Weekly, he has also contributed to Rolling Stone, The Boston Phoenix, and The Washington Post, among others. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.
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