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The King of Kings County: A Novelby Whitney Terrell
Synopses & Reviews
Few first novels elicit the rave reviews enjoyed by Whitney Terrell for The Huntsman. The New York Times called it "a searing first novel," and Esquire as "entirely spectacular." Others compared Terrell's prose to that of Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, and even Mark Twain. In The King of Kings County, Terrell again takes us to his native Kansas City for a heartrending look at a young man's coming-of-age as he confronts his father's — and his city's — dissolution.
In 1956, Alton Acheson — part con man, part visionary — begins building a suburban empire amid the cornfields of Kings County. As Alton bluffs his way into prosperity, his son, Jack, becomes a reluctant accomplice to his grand ambitions. But when greed, corruption, and organized crime combine to create an urban nightmare instead — abandoned buildings, ghettos, and slums — Jack is forced into a clear-eyed confrontation with his father's legacy. This extraordinary saga, The King of Kings County, examines the manufacturing of an American Dream, one whose contradictions divide us to this day.
"[A] powerful story about the birth of the suburbs and the death of the American dream....An honest and unsentimental post mortem for America's cities, this is also a moving and original coming-of-age story. A grand work of fiction, epic in scope and intimate in detail." Kirkus Reviews
"With his second novel...you can feel Terrell's expanded confidence and almost hear him cracking his knuckles, preparing to tell a great big story....Terrell's mythic yet utterly sensible novel offers at least a stunning glimpse. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
"With another novel this good, [Terrell will] put Kansas City on the literary map with Anne Tyler's Baltimore....An immense amount of historical and financial research underpins The King of Kings County, and yet all that detail is gracefully integrated into a story that is essentially about fathers and sons..." Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Kansas City native Terrell is at his best describing Jack's trials and tribulations, which are infinitely more interesting than his heartfelt but lecturing accounts of urban development and decay." Booklist
"Terrell is an astute, sensitive, and funny writer with the ability to pull readers into the story even when geographic details and complexities threaten to overwhelm it. All the characters ring true....Highly recommended." Library Journal
"Terrell's storytelling rolls with all the ease of the gently undulating plains of Kings County...splendid....
"Its weak character development aside, Whitney Terrell's The King of Kings County presents a fascinating view of the behind-the-scenes workings of some truly American commercial scams." San Francisco Chronicle
"The narrative moves along at a leisurely, engaging pace....One of the strengths of the novel is Jack's personality....Terrell has written an enjoyable book." Rocky Mountain News
The acclaimed author of The Huntsman again takes readers to his native Kansas City for a heartrending look at a young man's coming-of-age as he confronts his father's — and his city's — dissolution.
A sweeping novel of our "suburban nation"
In The Huntsman, a first novel hailed by Esquire as "ambitious, rousing and entirely spectacular," Whitney Terrell introduced us to the streets and neighborhoods of Kansas City. Now he offers us the story of their creation. A stunning, intensely private portrait of one man's life and his city, The King of Kings County presents a dazzling fifty-year arc through the heart of the American dream.
About the Author
Whitney Terrell was born and raised in Kansas City and attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is the New Letters visiting writer at the University of Missouri?Kansas City. Terrell's debut, The Huntsman, was a New York Times Notable Book.
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