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America America: A Novelby Ethan Canin
Synopses & Reviews
From Ethan Canin, bestselling author of The Palace Thief, comes a stunning novel, set in a small town during the Nixon era and today, about America and family, politics and tragedy, and the impact of fate on a young man’s life.
In the early 1970s, Corey Sifter, the son of working-class parents, becomes a yard boy on the grand estate of the powerful Metarey family. Soon, through the family’s generosity, he is a student at a private boarding school and an aide to the great New York senator Henry Bonwiller, who is running for president of the United States. Before long, Corey finds himself involved with one of the Metarey daughters as well, and he begins to leave behind the world of his upbringing. As the Bonwiller campaign gains momentum, Corey finds himself caught up in a complex web of events in which loyalty, politics, sex, and gratitude conflict with morality, love, and the truth.
America America is a beautiful novel about America as it was and is, a remarkable exploration of how vanity, greatness, and tragedy combine to change history and fate.
PRAISE FOR AMERICA AMERICA
“A brilliant, serious book for serious readers.”
–San Diego Union Tribune
“A complicated, many-layered epic of class, politics, sex, death, and social history…Its reach is wide and its touch often masterly.”
–John Updike in The New Yorker
“Though I’ve always loved Ethan Canin’s work, I still wasn’t prepared for America America, as rich, ambitious, intelligent, emotionally satisfying and important a work of fiction as we’re likely to get this year.”
–Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls
“We’ve waited a long time for a worthy successor to Robert Penn Warren’s All the King's Men, and it couldn't have arrived at a more auspicious moment."
“The beginning of June heralds the arrival of the fat summer read, meant for the porch, the hammock, the beach. Ethan Canin’s America America is just such a book, the satisfying, compulsively readable saga of a northeastern coal dynasty…What a story it is.”
An intoxicating big book - in both size and ambition.
Thrilling. . .Luminous.
–Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A big, ambitious, old-fashioned, quintessentially American novel about politics, power, ambition, class, ethics and loyalty… Bravo to Canin for tackling the American Dream, which we're forever running off the road and then trying to resuscitate.”
–Los Angeles Times
“Status, money, and politics intersect in this ambitious tale of a 1970s yard boy who becomes entangled in the web of a powerful New York family. Canin is at the top of his game.”
“Beautifully written. . .Heartbreaking.”
“Gooily satisfying…intelligently observed, elegantly written…much more than a novel about politics. It’s both a coming-of-age story and a melancholy look back at a small town and a time when cynicism about politicians and journalists hadn’t yet become accepted shorthand. It’s a perfect story for an election year, but one that will be read long after November.”
–Christian Science Monitor
An epic worthy of comparison to All the King's Men.
“America America is a grand novel, with a wide scope and small anguishes…The writing is exquisite, the depiction of the fading days of a certain American dream haunting.”
–Miami Herald “Between the Covers”
“A very ambitious take on the great American novel–about class, wealth, politics, history, power, innocence and corruption, all the things that ought to be in a great American novel. It’s beautiful to read, filled with Ethan Canin’s brilliant small summaries of a time or a place. It’s complicated, at times triumphant, at times sad.”
–Linda Wertheimer, National Public Radio
“Even the title is invigorating, a splash of nostalgia and hope…Take this to the beach.”
“A magnificent new novel with enormous sweep and power. I’ve been following Ethan Canin’s career since his first book. America America is the crowning glory of his writing life. I love this book.”
–Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides
“A summer novel that will have you turning pages faster than Barack Obama is pocketing delegates... America America is a timely, engaging novel about power and influence in the land of opportunity. . .
An epic look at life, love and legacy.”
–Rocky Mountain News
“A superb novel that beautifully illustrates the fundamental unknowability
of our loved ones.”
“Ethan Canin could hardly wish for higher praise than this: His big, carefully crafted novel earns the right to its name.”
—New York Observer
“A serious, sweeping, generations-spanning epic…An ambitious work that excels in imagining – rather than revisiting – this America on the verge.”
—New York Sun
“At year's end, America America might not have won the National Book Award, but it should have.”
–Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
“An arresting American political legend, intricately–and suspensefully–structured, gracefully written, and enhanced by thoughtful insights and intuitions in regard to its strong idiosyncratic characters. Altogether an admirable book.”
–Peter Matthiessen, author of Shadow Country
“[A] riveting and thought-provoking political novel . . ., a pointed history lesson and a timeless meditation on fate and self-determination.
[Canin’s] best and most affecting work. “
“A powerful lament that haunts us like a latter-day ghost of The Great Gatsby. [A] splendid novel.”
–Publishers Weekly, Signature Review
“It is always a deep pleasure to read Ethan Canin’s fine, calm, illuminating prose, and how well that prose serves this sweeping story of ambition and treachery. Canin is a writer who so quietly seems to know everything.”
–Jane Hamilton, author of A Map of the World
“A superb achievement.”
–Library Journal, Starred Review
“Captures that lovely green light of endless possibility that so entranced Fitzgerald, and also entrances Ethan Canin, his successor in the nuanced portrayal of man’s endless capacity for regret.”
–Cox News Service
"One of the best writers at work today."
–Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America
“Powerful and haunting, a major work.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Striking. . . Sweeping, multileveled. . .America America has that pull, that something that could make it a classic.”
–The Buffalo News
From the Hardcover edition.
The son of working-class parents, Corey Sifter is befriended by the wealthy Metarey family, a politically powerful dynasty in New York, and becomes an aide to New York senator Henry Bonwiller as he runs for the Democratic presidential nomination during the Nixon era, until a crime is committed and Corey is forced to reconcile his role in the complex drama. 100,000 first printing.
In the early 1970s, Corey Sifter, the son of working-class parents, becomes a yard boy on the grand estate of the powerful Metarey family. Soon, through the family’s generosity, he is a student at a private boarding school and an aide to the great New York senator Henry Bonwiller, who is running for president. Before long, Corey finds himself involved with one of the Metarey daughters as well, and he begins to leave behind the world of his upbringing. As the Bonwiller campaign gains momentum, Corey finds himself caught up in a complex web of events in which loyalty, politics, sex, and gratitude conflict with morality, love, and the truth. Ethan Canin’s stunning novel is about America as it was and is, a remarkable exploration of how vanity, greatness, and tragedy combine to change history and fate.
About the Author
Ethan Canin is the author of six books of fiction, including the story collections, Emperor of the Air and The Palace Thief, and the novels For Kings and Planets and Carry Me Across the Water. He is on the faculty of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in Iowa, California, and northern Michigan.
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