Synopses & Reviews
The year is 1967, and Rigby John Klusener, seventeen years old and finally leaving his home and family in Pocatello, Idaho, is on the highway with his thumb out and a flower behind his ear, headed for San Francisco.
Now Is the Hour is the wondrous story of how Rigby John got to this point. It traces his gradual emancipation from the repressions of a strictly religious farming family and from the small-minded, bigoted community in which he has grown up during a time of explosive cultural change. Transforming this familiar journey from American Graffiti to On the Road into something rich and strange and hilarious is the persona of Rigby John himself. Intimately in touch with his fears, hesitantly awakening to his own sexuality, and palpably open to life's mysteries, Rigby John is a protagonist whom readers will fall in love with, root for, and be moved by.
Now Is the Hour is a powerful, vastly entertaining story of self-awakening, of the complex bonds of family, and ultimately of America during a period of tremendous upheaval.
"Spanbauer follows his well-received The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon with a risky assay into the traditional bildungsroman, with this straightforward but luminous tale of a country boy's self-liberation. In the summer of 1967, 17-year-old Rigby John Klusener is hitchhiking from his hometown of Pocatello, Idaho, to San Francisco to escape a life of religious, racial and sexual bigotry. He leaves behind a pregnant girlfriend, a hopelessly mystified mother, an embittered father and a sister trapped in a brutal marriage. As he waits for a ride out on the deserted highway, he winds the story back to his childhood, then virtually walks the reader through a life marked by hard farm work, Catholic guilt and the liberating passion of deep friendships formed with the most scandalously disreputable people of the community. From his first school-yard fight to first experiences with sex (of various sorts), cigarettes, alcohol, pot, jealousy and love, Rigby John's first person is at once reliable and highly ironic; we may know better, but he truly doesn't, and the distance is delicious. And his genuine astonishment at other people (great names: Allen 'Puke' Price; Grandma Queep) keeps his telling edgy and warm, without allowing it to be sentimental." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Spanbauer's novel is worthy of its length, especially considering the absorbing denouement. An intelligent family drama." Library Journal
"A simmering Midwestern household boils over when a gay teenager discovers sex, drugs and rock-'n'-roll circa 1967....Spanbauer writes this fairly traditional coming-of-age story with a raw energy that makes it compelling." Kirkus Reviews
"[S]ophisticated, funny, poignant....Rarely does such a gripping story match with such a lovable character." Booklist
"Cleverly weaving 1960s pop music lines, the cultural iconography of conservative Catholicism and the challenges to that faith presented by encroaching alternative values, Now Is the Hour is at once beautiful and hilarious." Oregonian
"Spanbauer is a generous writer, sometimes too generous....Although containing a couple of pretty explicit sex scenes, Now Is the Hour is an engaging novel for young adults, and that is meant as a compliment." Seattle Times
Rigby John Klusener is hitchhiking to San Francisco. The year is 1967, the town is Pocatello, Idaho. Fresh out of high school, Rigby John is leaving behind his bohemian ex-girlfriend, his prayerful mother, his distant father, and the hay dust of his harsh farm town Catholic upbringing. As he stands by the side of the road desperately waiting for that one ride out, he reflects on the events that brought him there: the discovery of love, friendship, literature, and all the small joys that set him free. At once a tale of sexual awakening, racial enlightenment, and personal epiphany, Now Is the Hour is the disarming and sweetly winning story of one unforgettable teenager who dares to hope for a different life.
About the Author
Tom Spanbauer is the author of Faraway Places, In the City of Shy Hunters, and The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, winner of the PNBA Award for best fiction and "dazzlingly accomplished," as the Washington Post called it. His novels have been published in more than ten languages.