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The Company Carby C J Hribal
Synopses & Reviews
The Company Car opens in 1952 with Wally and Susan Czabek getting married on television in Chicago. The novel is narrated by their son Emil, who is traveling to his parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary. The occasion is bittersweet; the kids are also gathering to decide what is going to happen to their parents as they slide into not being able to care for themselves; and Emil's own marriage is on the brink of dissolving, with the beloved independent bookstore chain he owns possibly being a casualty. Both comically tragic and touching, The Company Car is a sweeping, generational American saga about a family caught in the changing landscape of American life, and announces the voice of an important new writer in American fiction.
"Two generations of the Czabeks — Wally, Susan and their seven kids — make for a nuanced study of the American family and the mysteries of marriage in this dense, heartfelt saga. With Wally and Susan's son Emil narrating, Hribal (The Clouds of Memphis) takes readers on a 50-year quest for the American dream, from a goofy televised postwar marriage ceremony through the Czabeks' flight in the 1960s from suburban Chicago to a 99-acre Wisconsin farm ('We had gone bucolic by the time the decade really exploded') to a 50th-anniversary gathering that serves as a crucible for decades of accumulated family conflict. The Czabeks persevere through one misadventure after another; Wally pursues get-rich-quick schemes and drowns his demons in drink while each family member seeks his or her own private ways to cope with life's contradictions. Hribal chronicles the lives of this sprawling, chaotic cast of characters with a level of minutiae that tends to lessen the narrative's sense of urgency, but he courageously doesn't stint in his efforts to answer the big questions he poses, even though we may have guessed some of the answers ourselves. Agent, Nat Sobel." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
C. J. HRIBAL is the author of The Clouds in Memphis, which won the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Award in Short Fiction, Matty’s Heart, and American Beauty. He edited and wrote the introduction for The Boundaries of Twilight: Czecho-Slovak Writing from the New World. Hribal received his M.A. in creative writing from Syracuse University, where he studied under Tobias Wolff and the late Raymond Carver. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. A professor of English at Marquette University and a member of the fiction faculty at the Warren Wilson College M.F.A. Program for Writers, he lives with his wife and three children in Milwaukee.
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