Tom Piazza My Cold War: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780060533410

My Cold War: A Novel

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9780060533410: My Cold War: A Novel

A sharp, searching novel of an American son and the family he left behind ?rom a writer of rare breadth and human insight.

My Cold War is a critically acclaimed debut novel of extraordinary depth and range : the story of a man's alienation and attempts at reconnection with his family, and a rich exploration of the thorny implications of American popular culture.

At its center is John Delano, a professor of Cold War Studies and successful mass–market historian a la Stephen Ambrose or Ken Burns. Raised by an awkward, embittered father and a frustrated mother in a Levittown–style suburb on Long Island, Delano has made a name for himself as a gimmicky interpreter of Cold War America, a controversial but popular repackager of events like the JFK assassination for those who lived through them without noticing.

And yet, as the novel opens, Delano has reached an impasse: during a crisis of confidence, he shelves a major new book project in favor of a quest to drive to the Midwest and seek out his estranged younger brother. But when the trip ends in a sobering discovery that his brother has led a life of desperate transience, grasping at straws and scapegoats ?e undergoes an epiphany that propels him back to the newly sacred ground where he and his brother were raised.

Long recognized as a writer of exceptional vision and unflinching candor, Tom Piazza has crafted a novel full of incident and argument, a book that speaks with depth and range about what it has meant to be American in our time.

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About the Author:

Tom Piazza is the author of the novels City of Refuge and My Cold War, the post-Katrina manifesto Why New Orleans Matters, the essay collection Devil Sent the Rain, and many other works. He was a principal writer for the HBO drama series Treme and the winner of a Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues: A Musical Journey. He lives in New Orleans.

From Publishers Weekly:

This richly textured but uneven first novel by Piazza (Blues and Trouble) opens with John Delano, a Connecticut college professor of Cold War Studies, trying, unsuccessfully, to pen John Delano's Cold War, an unorthodox opus that looks at events as "pure phenomena." Analyzing surface and image (instead of "boring history stuff," as a former student puts it) has earned John popularity in the classroom, but some disdain in the faculty lounge for his "History McNuggets." When his father, from whom he was estranged, dies, John's concentration fails him; instead of writing, he recollects his turbulent childhood: his father's steady decline into mental illness, his mother's struggles and love affairs, the growing despondency of his brother, Chris. John narrates his youth with spot-on 1960s details-Johnny Carson hosting Don Rickles, the Summer of Love, the pot fumes-and poignant personal memories, from meeting his wife, Val, at a labor conference, to the pain of his mother's death. Struggling to free himself from writer's "limbo," John calls Chris, to whom he has not spoken in years, proposing to visit him in Iowa; he imagines that he will scrap his Cold War book and instead write a memoir about their reunion. Their time together is awkward, poignant-and might have been the start of a renewed relationship. But John's discovery that Chris is involved in a racist group sparks another conflict, and John's subsequent decision to visit the house he grew up in provides the novel's heartbreaking final pages. The academic play of the novel's opening feels flat in comparison to the powerful longing at its end, but this is an incisive portrait of a man, his troubled family and their place in history.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Tom Piazza
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