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From the author of Henry and Clara, a dazzling, hilarious novel that captures the heart and soul of New York in the Jazz Age.Bandbox is a hugely successful magazine, a glamorous monthly cocktail of 1920s obsessions from the stock market to radio to gangland murder. Edited by the bombastic Jehoshaphat "Joe" Harris, the magazine has a masthead that includes, among many others, a grisly, alliterative crime writer; a shy but murderously determined copyboy; and a burned-out vaudeville correspondent who's lovesick for his loyal, dewy assistant.As the novel opens, the defection of Harris's most ambitious protégé has plunged Bandbox into a death struggle with a new competitor on the newsstand. But there's more to come: a sabotaged fiction contest, the NYPD vice squad, a subscriber's kidnapping, and a film-actress cover subject who makes the heroines of Fosse's Chicago look like the girls next door. While Harris and his magazine careen from comic crisis to make-or-break calamity, the novel races from skyscraper to speakeasy, hops a luxury train to Hollywood, and crashes a buttoned-down dinner with Calvin Coolidge.Thomas Mallon has given us a madcap and poignant book that brilliantly portrays the gaudiest American decade of them all.From the Hardcover edition.
From a writer whose last book, Henry and Clara, prompted John Updike to declare Thomas Mallon one of the most interesting American novelists at work, comes a story that perfectly captures the delightful romance and wistful magic of our recent, and more innocent, past.Thomas Mallon has masterfully appropriated a jubilant legend (and famous headline) of modern American history -- Harry Truman's upset victory over Thomas E. Dewey in the 1948 presidential election -- and built around it a midwestern Midsummer Night's Dream. Set in Dewey's hometown of Owosso, Michigan, this is the captivating story of a local love triangle that mirrors the national election contest. As the voters must decide between candidates, so must Anne Macmurray choose between two suitors: an ardent UAW organizer and his polar opposite, a wealthy lawyer who's certain he will ride to state Senate victory on Republican coattails.As they weave a small-town tapestry of dreams and secrets, the people of Owosso ready themselves for the fame that is bound to shower down upon them after Dewey's "sure thing" victory. But as the novel -- and history -- move toward election night, we watch the citizens of Owosso, Anne Macmurray and her suitors in particular, await the outcome of the election and the rearrangement of their fates in a climax filled with suspense, chagrin, and unexpected joy.
It's 1950s Washington, D.C.: a world of bare-knuckled ideology and secret dossiers, dominated by personalities like Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and Joe McCarthy. Enter Timothy Laughlin, a recent college graduate and devout Catholic eager to join the crusade against Communism. An encounter with a handsome State Department official, Hawkins Fuller, leads to Tim's first job and, after Fuller's advances, his first love affair. As McCarthy mounts a desperate bid for power and internal investigations focus on "sexual subversives" in the government, Tim and Fuller find it ever more dangerous to navigate their double lives. Moving between the diplomatic world of Foggy Bottom and NATO's front line in Europe, Fellow Travelers is a searing historical novel infused with political drama, unexpected humor, and genuine heartbreak.
Adding to a fiction chronicle that has already spanned American history from the Lincoln assassination to the Watergate scandal, Thomas Mallon now brings to life the tumultuous administration of the most consequential and enigmatic president in modern times. Finale captures the crusading ideologies, blunders, and glamour of the still-hotly-debated Reagan years, taking readers to the political gridiron of Washington, the wealthiest enclaves of Southern California, and the volcanic landscape of Iceland, where the president engages in two almost apocalyptic days of negotiation with Mikhail Gorbachev. Along with Soviet dissidents, illegal-arms traders, and antinuclear activists, the novel's memorable characters include Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Pamela Harriman, John W. Hinckley, Jr. (Reagan's would-be assassin), and even Bette Davis, with whom the president had long ago appeared onscreen. Several figures--including a humbled, crafty Richard Nixon; the young, brilliantly acerbic Christopher Hitchens; and an anxious, astrology-dependent Nancy Reagan (on the verge of a terrible realization)--become the eyes through which readers see the last convulsions of the Cold War, the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, and a political revolution. At the center of it all--but forever out of reach--is Ronald Reagan himself, whose genial remoteness confounds his subordinates, his children, and the citizens who elected him. Finale is the book that Thomas Mallon's work has been building toward for years. It is the most entertaining and panoramic novel about American politics since Advise and Consent, more than a half century ago.From the Hardcover edition.
Henry and Clara Rathbone were a young couple who sat in the President's box the night of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Born of socially prominent families and raised as stepbrother and stepsister, the pair began a passionate love affair that thrived despite the wishes of their parents and society. But their witnessing of the event that shook the nation changed their lives forever, leading to guilt, madness, and eventually murder. Relying on historical evidence, Thomas Mallon brings to life one of the most fascinating, though little-known tales from our nation's history, in this astonishing and moving story that is a successful blend of fact and fiction.
From the acclaimed novelist (Henry and Clara, Two Moons), essayist (A Book of One's Own), and critic (1998 National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing)--an engaging new collection of essays.In Fact gathers the best of Thomas Mallon's superb criticism from the past twenty-two years--essays that appeared in his GQ column, "Doubting Thomas," and in The New York Times Book Review, The American Scholar, The New Yorker, and Harper's, among other publications. Here are his evaluations of the work of contemporary writers such as Nicholson Baker, Peter Carey, Tom Wolfe, Do DeLillo, Joan Didion, and Robert Stone, and reassessments of such earlier twentieth-century figures as John O'Hara, Sinclair Lewis, Truman Capote, and Mary McCarthy. Mallon also considers an array of odd literary genres and phenomena--including book indexes, obituaries, plagiarism, cancelled checks, fan mail, and author tours. And he turns his sharp eye on historical fiction (his own genre) as well as on the history, practice, and future of memoir.Smart, unorthodox, and impassioned, this collection is an integral piece of an important literary career and an altogether marvelous read.From the Hardcover edition.
"A religious fundamentalist, a political operative, a primitive sermonizer, and an accomplice of worldly secular powers. Her mission has always been of this kind. The irony is that she has never been able to induce anybody to believe her. It is past time that she was duly honored and taken at her word."Among his many books, perhaps none have sparked more outrage than THE MISSIONARY POSITION, Christopher Hitchens's meticulous study of the life and deeds of Mother Teresa. A Nobel Peace Prize recipient beatified by the Catholic Church in 2003, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was celebrated by heads of state and adored by millions for her work on behalf of the poor. In his measured critique, Hitchens asks only that Mother Teresa's reputation be judged by her actions-not the other way around.With characteristic élan and rhetorical dexterity, Hitchens eviscerates the fawning cult of Teresa, recasting the Albanian missionary as a spurious, despotic, and megalomaniacal operative of the wealthy who long opposed measures to end poverty, and fraternized, for financial gain, with tyrants and white-collar criminals throughout the world.
For 9 months in 1963, Ruth Paine, a Quaker housewife in suburban Dallas, offered shelter and assistance to Lee Harvey Oswald and his Russian wife, Marina. Mrs. Paine was so deeply involved in the Oswalds' lives that she eventually became one of the most important witnesses in the Warren Commission's investigation into the assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy. This is the tragic story of a well-intentioned woman who found Oswald the job that put him 6 floors above Dealey Plaza -- into which, on Nov. 22, he fired a rifle he'd kept hidden inside Mrs. Paine's house. But this is also the story of a devout, open-hearted woman who weathered a whirlwind of investigation, suspicion, and betrayal.
Astronomy, politics, and romance join forces in this novel from the writer John Updike has called "one of the most interesting American novelists at work." It's the spring of 1877 in Washington, D.C., and at the U.S. Naval Observatory, Hugh Allison has conceived a secret ambition: to project an image through time and space. But his plan takes on urgent life only when the mathematically gifted Cynthia May enters his orbit as one of the observatory's human "computers." A Civil War widow whose beauty has been shadowed by worry and poverty, Cynthia reluctantly falls in love with the younger Hugh, who missed the war that has haunted her life. But the fate of their love affair -- and of Hugh's heavenly vision -- may be out of their hands, decided instead by an astrologer and by the actions of a dangerously magnetic politician who wields his power over a Senate convulsed by Reconstruction and a wildly disputed presidential election.Masterfully combining historical detail and startling invention, Thomas Mallon gives us a galvanizing story of earthly heartbreak and otherworldly triumph.
From one of our most esteemed historical novelists, a remarkable retelling of the Watergate scandal, as seen through a kaleidoscope of its colorful perpetrators and investigators. For all the monumental documentation that Watergate generated--uncountable volumes of committee records, court transcripts, and memoirs--it falls at last to a novelist to perform the work of inference (and invention) that allows us to solve some of the scandal's greatest mysteries (who did erase those eighteen-and-a-half minutes of tape?) and to see this gaudy American catastrophe in its human entirety. In Watergate, Thomas Mallon conveys the drama and high comedy of the Nixon presidency through the urgent perspectives of seven characters we only thought we knew before now, moving readers from the private cabins of Camp David to the klieg lights of the Senate Caucus Room, from the District of Columbia jail to the Dupont Circle mansion of Theodore Roosevelt's sharp-tongued ninety-year-old daughter ("The clock is dick-dick-dicking"), and into the hive of the Watergate complex itself, home not only to the Democratic National Committee but also to the president's attorney general, his recklessly loyal secretary, and the shadowy man from Mississippi who pays out hush money to the burglars. Praised by Christopher Hitchens for his "splendid evocation of Washington," Mallon achieves with Watergate a scope and historical intimacy that surpasses even what he attained in his previous novels, as he turns a "third-rate burglary" into a tumultuous, first-rate entertainment.
Mallon offers a delightful and wide-ranging chronicle of the art of letter-writing that explores the offhand masterpieces dispatched through the ages by the likes of Scott Fitzgerald, Flannery O'Connor, Lord Byron, and others.
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