Sunday, February 1, 2009

What I'm Reading . . . America, America, by Ethan Canin

I just finished America, America, by Ethan Canin, a novel that follows Corey Sifter, a working class boy, as he works for, then is befriended by, a wealthy, politically connected local family. When the family throws its substantial weight behind presidential candidate Senator Henry Bonwiller, Corey is swept along for the ride.

As it turns out, Senator Bonwiller, a great liberal working man's candidate, has a drinking weakness and a Chappaquiddick-like secret that ultimately destroy his presidential dreams. In America, America, Corey, both as an impressionable young man and the more critical journalist he becomes, pores over class distinctions, social justice, and the rise and fall of the charismatic Senator Bonwiller.

Despite Michiko Kakutani's absolutely scorching review of America, America in the New York Times, this book was a really good read. Now I'm on to The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry (that's GOT to be a pen name). The Lace Reader is a weaker novel to be sure, but I've been looking forward to reading it and finally found it at McKay's last week for $2.00. Can't beat that!

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