Greenwich

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9780151006205: Greenwich

On a quiet night in the best part of Greenwich, Connecticut, eight people assemble for a convivial dinner. But after that night, their lives will never be the same, as death erupts into their lives. They are a disparate group, including a former State Department employee, a Catholic nun, a linguistics professor, and a successful novelist. They, and the people they love, portray the arrogance and innocence, brutality and compassion in America today. Each character becomes a thread-dark, light, or a shade in between-in a carpet of intricate design, and as Howard Fast weaves them together, they embody the interdependence of human life and human guilt and the eternal work of redemption.

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About the Author:

Howard Fast's most recent novel is Redemption. He has written more than forty books, including the novels Spartacus, Citizen Tom Paine, April Morning, and The Immigrant's Daughter. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and he has received numerous awards, including an Emmy Award, a National Jewish Book Award, and the Schomburg Award for Race Relations. He lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Review:

At 85, Fast has lost none of his storytelling skills, and one of the pleasures of reading his fast-paced later novels is to note how they are trimmed of excess. This outing, his latest after Redemption, is set in the wealthy Connecticut town of the book's title, where Fast has lived for many years, and as usual shows many traces of Fast's lifelong populist leftism. Richard Castle, a successful Wall Street hustler, was once an assistant secretary of state who gave the orders for a massacre of nuns and priests in El Salvador. Now word of possible American involvement in the murders is beginning to leak out, and higher-ups in Washington are determined to silence him, if necessary with "extreme prejudice." Richard, meanwhile, married to beautiful and sweetly innocent trophy wife Sally, is trying to ascertain, through a local Jesuit monsignor and a nun who was in El Salvador, just how much is known about his role. These two are guests, along with a representative selection of Greenwich citizens, at a dinner party at the Castles' home, through which Fast portrays the social and political currents of the town. Among the people who play roles in his tale are a self-sacrificing doctor, a successful author, an embittered academic, a plumber tortured by memories of Vietnam, an open-eyed nurse and a black chef to the wealthy. Their juxtapositions are a bit schematic, and they have more value as symbols than as breathing characters, but there is no denying the aplomb with which Fast manipulates his large cast and has them face up to the issues that interest him: common guilt for horrors committed in our nation's name, racial and religious intolerance, the elusive comforts of faith, the corrupting effect of too much money. This novel may not be the last word in sophistication, but it's an exhilaratingly rapid read that deals with some far from negligible ideas. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
  (Publishers Weekly )

Dinner is at 7:30 p.m. on a rainy night in a luxurious home in the best section of tony Greenwich, CT. Eight people are expected--the host and hostess, the priest, the nun, the author (his wife declines at the last minute), the professor and his wife, and the neighbor (who has had an affair with the host), standing in for the author's wife. It is a disparate group, unaware of the thread of murders, past and future, that touches each of them. In this tightly woven novel, not only the characters but the readers must consider each person's impact, including the part each may play in others' deaths. The message is individual responsibility; the question is how each individual responds. Fast's faithful readers anticipate each new novel, and Greenwich meets all expectations. Recommended for all fiction collections.
---Annelle R. Huggins, Univ. of Memphis Libs.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.  (School Library Journal )

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