Synopses & Reviews
Marc Estrins illustrious debut, Insect DreamsThe Half-Life of Gregor Samsa
, traced a most improbable and unfortunate innocent through the first half of the 20th Century from pre-Nazi Austria to the explosion of the first nuclear bomb. With the same galloping humor, the same fear and loathing, and a touch of the Dickensian, The Education of Arnold Hitler
introduces Gregors human successor, a baby-boomer unfortunately named, who must navigate an absurd world of activists, academics, warriors, and their meaningless words.
Like the greatest works of Don Delillo, Richard Powers, and Jonathan Franzen, Arnold Hitler turns a powerful humor and a compassionate and cutting satire on the darkest issues of the age: the persistence of war and racism, the intractable force of history and culture, and the lies that words conceal.
"Estrin combines the black comedy of Don DeLillo with a bit of Tom Robbins's intellectual adventurousness to concoct a wildly provocative tale of a young man who must learn to define himself. Highly recommended." Lawrence Rungren, Library Journal
"In this smart, dense, cartoonish second novel from the author of Insect Dreams, a young Texan with a poisoned name comes of age on a countercultural tour of America, from sputnik to Watergate, with stops at a cross-burning, Harvard and the grassy knoll....Estrin is consistently learned and funny." The New York Times Book Review
"A brilliant meditation on the power of words... a richly multilayered coming-of-age story in which the hero struggles with the power of language and naming, the ambiguities of religious identity, the meaning of meaning and the nature of alienation.... [an] ingenious novel of ideas." The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
Praise for Marc Estrin and Insect Dreams "A colossal book of characters and events that inspires tears of laughter and sadness in its rich blend of clever metaphor and unsettling facts, this promises to become a pivotal literary landmark." --Library Journal "As brilliant as Pynchon and as funny as the best of Robbins and Vonnegut, this is a generous gift to the idea-starved fiction reader. Heart, head, hilarity, and history all rolled passionately into one. Don't miss this!" --Book Sense
In this smart, dense, cartoonish second novel from the author of Insect Dreams,” a young Texan with a poisoned name comes of age on a countercultural tour of America, from sputnik to Watergate, with stops at a cross-burning, Harvard and the grassy knoll. Young Arnold meets Chomsky, gets French kissed by Leonard Bernstein and finally marries his own Eva Braun beneath the Bruckner Expressway
.Estrin is consistently learned and funny
.”The New York Times Book Review
A lively, entertaining read with several scenes that could win O. Henrys on their own.” THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"An unusually rich work of fiction."--Jewish Book World
A brilliant meditation on the power of words
.a richly multilayered coming-of-age story in which the hero struggles with the power of language and naming, the ambiguities of religious identity, the meaning of meaning and the nature of alienation
.Part Huck Finn, part Eugene Gant ("Look Homeward, Angel"), part Oskar Matzerath ("The Tin Drum"), part Holden Caulfield and part Herman Melville's Billy Budd, little Arnold Hitler makes his way from innocence to experience as he moves from the security of his small Texas town to the uncertain and often anxious world of Harvard during the Vietnam War protests and finally to the hustling world of the Bowery
.[an] ingenious novel of ideas.”The Atlanta Journal Constitution
A lively, sure-footed tale
. the novel's ruminations on linguistic expression are perhaps best served by Estrin's deft touch of magic realism: Arnold communicates with his maternal grandfather in Italy by speaking to him through his left knee, like a sort of two-way radio. Their connection, at once telepathic and corporeal, offers the integrity of a shared heritage to counter the rhetorical sway of Arnold's unfortunate last name. When the path of Arnold's education leads him to determine not only what he will be called but who he will be, it is the words that come from within him that prove most decisive.” BOOKFORUM
"Estrin combines the black comedy of Don DeLillo with a bit of Tom Robbins's intellectual adventurousness to concoct a wildly provocative tale of a young man
who must learn to define himself. Highly recommended." LIBRARY JOURNAL, STARRED
As if the name Arnold Hitler wasnt baggage enough, the protagonist of this sweet, playful coming-of-age story carries a bit of Forrest Gump in him, too. Though the timbre of Arnolds intellect is richer than Forrests, theyre equally earnest. And as Arnold strikes out from small-town Texas to Harvard and New York City in the 1960s and early 70s, he keeps encountering historic figures. . . this clever narrative package also makes plenty of room for literate explorations of Jewishness, anti-Semitism, and serious games of Whats in a name?” BOOKLIST
This is more like what Forrest Gump could have been, had it been written with more skill, style and a gimlet eye toward satire.”Ruminator Magazine
"Marc Estrin's all-American Bildungsroman, with its winning New World hero with the worst of all possible Old World names, conjures the recent history of these United States with the gusto of a wild West wind. The Education of Arnold Hitler is a picaresque novel of comic sweep and intellectuals depth, an inspired complement to the equally inspired Insect Dreams.” --Peter Glassgold, author of The Angel Max
[A] splendid satire.”The Vermont Review of Books
Estrin blends a heady and potent brew of fact and fiction with real and imaginary characters and uses it as a vivid backdrop for Arnold's heroic journey. With wit, brio, and a keen sense of the absurd, he has fashioned a novel that is pure comic genius shot through with intelligence and style.”The Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Program
[An] intelligent, erudite novel. There is not a page without brilliant -- and often very funny -- remarks.”Magill Book Reviews
At once a chess master, a linguist, an athlete and an innocent in love, Arnold passes through the racial tensions of Mansfield, Texas (home of the author of Black Like Me) in the 1950s, the anti-war movement at Harvard, and both the Upper East Side and the Bowery, meeting Noam Chomsky, Al Gore, and Leonard Bernstein in the process, and finally learning the meaning of meaning.
Estrin's second novel is the story of a young man who stumbles through the second half of the 20th century bearing a most unfortunate name.
About the Author
Marc Estrin is a writer, cellist, and activist living in Burlington, Vermont, and the author of Insect DreamsThe Half Life of Gregor Samsa.