Walter D. Wetherell Morning

ISBN 13: 9780375420887

Morning

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9780375420887: Morning
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In this rich, compulsively readable saga about the brave early years of television, "morning" means several things. It is the name of the first-ever morning show, pioneered by a visionary who believed television could reflect the lives of ordinary Americans; it refers to the 1950s, a time of innovation and energy in the vibrant New York City where much of the novel takes place; and finally, it suggests the dawning of a new relationship between a long-estranged father and son who must meet the new century with their fates intertwined.

At the center is Alec McGowan, the creator and host of Morning, adored by women across the country for his intelligence and sex appeal, and by men for his earnest, direct way of talking. As the novel opens it is nearly fifty years since McGowan was murdered on camera by his best friend and co-host, Chet Standish. Our narrator is Alec Brown, Chet's son, a middle-aged biographer obsessed with uncovering the details of McGowan's life. Brown's research and the transcripts of his interviews with pioneers from TV's golden age capture the headlong intensity of McGowan's rise and fall, his reunion with his long-lost first love, and his struggle for fulfillment both on and off the air.

As Brown's work on his book progresses, another story unfolds: the building of a tenuous relationship with his father, who has just been released from prison after serving fifty years for McGowan's murder. Their comic, heartbreaking attempts at understanding one another and the resulting changes in the life of Brown's entire family gradually illuminate the true story of Morning, in all its meanings.

This unforgettable novel confirms W. D. Wetherell’s place among the most innovative and powerful novelists now working.

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From the Back Cover:

One of Talk Magazine’s “Talk 10” Books of May 2001.

“The delight of this imaginatively told narrative lies in how fully it makes use of the history and technology of the early years of television, and how little it depends upon exploiting familiar personalities . . . Cast superficially in the mold of reportorial novels of the ‘50s like The Great Man, which purport to dig up the private truth about a recognizable public figure, this ambitious and inventive novel makes free use of its historical material, creating a story with meaning and dramatic weight entirely its own.”–Publishers Weekly

“Morning reads like a half-remembered dream, both tantalizing and unsettling. The chronicle of a murder played out before thirty million viewers, a beautiful evocation of the first electrifying days of television, and a poignant family saga, this is a bold and ambitious work, masterfully executed by W. D. Wetherell.”
–Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland

“This is the kind of book readers live for: a wonderfully compelling and innovative story, written with an exquisite sense of the beauty and power of language, all the while addressing the most important and durable and moving of themes: the necessity of striving for dreams without forgetting the past, the integral role of familial love, and the heartbreaking beauty, for better and worse, each new morning affords us. This is a stunningly original book, one you have to read.”
–Bret Lott, author of Jewel


From the Inside Flap:

own, a middle-aged biographer, takes as his subject broadcasting pioneer Alec McGowan, host of television’s very first wake-up show, “Morning,” the project is marked by a sinister obsession. For intertwined with McGowan’s life and the birth of the box is Brown's own family history. His estranged father, Chet Standish, was not only McGowan's best friend and "Morning" cohost, he was also the man who shot and killed McGowan on the air. Now dying of cancer, Standish is being released from prison into his son's care.

W. D. Wetherell weaves together the story of McGowan's rise to television notoriety–back when the medium, and indeed the nation, seemed ripe with promise–and Brown's tenuous steps to better understand the love triangle that drove his father to violence. Morning is at once a riveting glimpse of an era gone by, a moving portrait of a family in turmoil, and a penetrating reflection on the rise of mass media.

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