Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Reading: America America by Ethan Canin

The latest stop on my trip through the NPR Summer Reading List was America America by Ethan Canin. This is a very engaging and thought-provoking novel about a powerful political family (the Metarey's) and their relationship with the main character (Corey) and Senator Bonwiller, who runs for President. There were several other important relationships woven into the story, which was very interesting and well-done. It is written out of chronological order, which requires some thought and concentration on the part of the reader, which was a little more intellectual energy than I had to give for the last couple of weeks, and I felt as though I was slogging through it at times, but that was purely my own problem and not related to the book itself.

My favorite character was Mr. McGowar, who was Corey's neighbor and his father's best friend. Everything about Mr. McGowar was endearing to me, and his strenght of character and the obstacles he overcame were very touching and made me "choke up" on more than one occasion. Of all the characters in the book, he was the person I would have most liked to spend some time with.

Finally, I'll say that it is interesting to read a novel about a political campaign and scandal that occurred in the past while our country is right in the middle of our own political campaign and scandals. Much of the book takes place during the Vietnam War, again an interesting coincidence considering our country's own current war. I was intrigued by the parallels, and I have some new insight on current events after reading this.

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