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Gillison, Samantha.

ISBN 10: 0375508198 / ISBN 13: 9780375508196
Published by New York: Random House, (2004) dj, 2004
From Bookfever, IOBA (Volk & Iiams) (Ione, CA, U.S.A.)

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SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. Award winning author's second novel, set in two very different worlds - an America of wealth and privilege and primitive New Guinea. Loosely based on the mysterious 1961 disappearance of Michael Rockefeller, this imagines how it might have been. SIGNED on the title page. 213 pp. Fine in fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 63389

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: New York: Random House, (2004) dj

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


The King of America traces the short, brilliant life of Stephen Hesse, firstborn son of one of America’s wealthiest, most powerful men—yet Stephen’s distinguished paternal lineage and the great privilege it has conferred on him are at odds with the working-class background of his mother. Ultimately, a scandalous divorce and the replacement of the somber, dark-eyed mother and child with a new family more becoming to Stephen’s father’s political ambition leave the young man an outsider. The sole focus of his abandoned mother, Stephen Hesse grows up lonesome and restless.

At Harvard, recovering from a failed love affair, Stephen falls under the sway of a charismatic anthropology professor and, at last, feels a sense of direction and identity. As a scholar, writer, and art collector for his father’s museum, Stephen accompanies his mentor to the impossibly strange and distant world of Netherlands New Guinea, where a Neolithic culture, still practicing its ancient rites of head-hunting, thrives in its last moments before modernity arrives. There Stephen discovers the Asmat bisj poles—terrifying, glorious, towering pieces of carved woodwork honoring tribal ancestors—which he hopes will secure his professional standing and guarantee him a lasting place in his father’s esteem. But his hardheaded insistence on securing the art before the onset of the monsoon season has tragic consequences.

Loosely based on the mysterious 1961 disappearance of Michael Rockefeller, The King of America moves seamlessly from the bastions of East Coast privilege to the tropical lushness of New Guinea. Samantha Gillison writes with the powers of observation of a naturalist and the assurance of a born novelist. Part love story, part adventure yarn, part family tragedy, The King of America is an exceptional feat of storytelling.

From the Back Cover:

“Tropical heat ripples off these pages: Samantha Gillison depicts New Guinea and its indigenous people in lush, rare, passionate language. She sympathetically animates American characters no less exotic, including a troubled young anthropologist and his oil-rich family. The King of America takes us on a stirring journey to a distant land–and whose exploration leads us to the heart of human folly.”
Ken Kalfus, author of The Commissariat of Enlightenment

“In this extraordinarly beautiful and atmospheric novel, Samantha Gillison once again displays her tremendous gifts for characterising both people and places. The King of America is an utterly absorbing portrait of both.”
Margot Livesey
"From its compelling opening to its unexpected, radiantly beautiful final scenes, this is an extraordinary novel."
Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever, winner of the National Book Award

“This wonderful novel is set in two vastly different worlds: the America of wealth and exceptional privilege, and primitive New Guinea, where life is lived as it was a thousand years ago. At once lush and spare, The King of America is the story of a young man's desperate journey–away from his tormented relations with those closest to him and toward a truly known self–and it reminds us, exquisitely, of the pain and beauty contained in our deepest feelings for each other.”
Ann Packer, bestselling author of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier

“In this taut, tragic, exquisitely written book, a young American journeys to a distant world which shelters him from the barbarous gentility of home. An engrossing meditation on privilege and its discontents, The King of America is a magnificent achievement.”
Jhumpa Lahiri

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Store Description - the name used by Volk and Iiams, Booksellers- specializes in first editions of twentieth century literature, with an emphasis on women authors, African American, Native American and Latin American authors - plus mystery & detective fiction, science fiction & fantasy, poetry and children's & illustrated books. We try to offer many uncommon books, and have a large selection of first books, and books by authors who are less frequently collected. Of the approximately 50,000 volumes in stock, the majority are hardcover first editions, although we also stock vintage science fiction paperbacks as well as sf digests and pulps. We also have a large selection of books signed by the author and uncorrected proof copies. Less than 50% of our stock is catalogued, so please inquire if you are searching for specific titles. Selling books by mail order and on the internet since 1993. We have a large booth dedicated to books (called Books Upstairs) at the Antiques Upstairs Mall, 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA. (open every day from 10-5) The emphasis there is on Western Americana, children¿s books and inexpensive reading copies. In 1998 we relocated our main business from Sacramento to the Sierra foothills of Amador County, about 35 miles east of downtown Sacramento and between Ione & Sutter Creek. There, on 10 acres of rolling oak-covered hills, we built a ¿bookhouse¿ for our books. When we are there, we welcome visitors by appointment (call 209-274-6960 or, in the US only, toll free at 1-877-bookfev or contact us by email Our web page is Traditional bookseller grading used - fine is our highest grade (an "A"), very good is above average (a "B), good is average (a "C"). All significant flaws are described; dust jackets are protected by archival covers, and books are packed carefully for shipping. We welcome questions by email or phone.

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Terms of Sale: is a partnership between Christine Volk and Eugene Iiams, Booksellers. Our mailing address is PO Box 696, Ione CA 95640 USA. Our store is located at 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA 95642 USA. Email: Phone: 209-274-6960. We accept Mastercard, Visa AMEX, Discover, checks or Paypal, whichever is most convenient for customers. Please contact us if you have any questions, or want to confirm availability. All dustjackets are in archival mylar covers, and books are packed ...

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Shipping includes insurance and/or delivery confirmation when appropriate. All dust jackets are covered with archival protectors. All books are PACKED CAREFULLY; we are also happy to gift wrap books (FREE) upon request, and to ship them with just a card. Prices shown include media mail shipping in the US and California sales tax, when required. An online bookseller since 1993, on ABE since 1997! While occasionally a book sells out, we only list books which we have in stock, and ready to ship. NOTE our low INTERNATIONAL RATES - Please do not hesitate to contact us to confirm availability or with any questions - we can be reached at or toll-free in the USA at 877*266*5338 (bookfev) or outside the US at 209*274*6960. Reciprocal terms offered to the trade on direct orders only. Libraries and other institutions may request to be invoiced.

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