At the center of Jonathan Lethemâs superb new novel stand two extraordinary women: Rose Zimmer, the aptly nicknamed Red Queen of Sunnyside, Queens, is an unreconstructed Communist who savages neighbors, family, and political comrades with the ferocity of her personality and the absolutism of her beliefs. Her precocious and willful daughter, Miriam, equally passionate in her activism, flees Roseâs influence to embrace the dawning counterculture of Greenwich Village.
Â Â Â Â These women cast spells over the men in their lives: Roseâs aristocratic German Jewish husband, Albert; her cousin, the feckless chess hustler Lenny Angrush; Cicero Lookins, the brilliant son of her black cop lover; Miriamâs (slightly fraudulent) Irish folksinging husband, Tommy Gogan; their bewildered son, Sergius. Flawed and idealistic, Lethemâs characters struggle to inhabit the utopian dream in an America where radicalism is viewed with bemusement, hostility, or indifference.
Â Â Â Â As the decades passâfrom the parlor communism of the â30s, McCarthyism, the civil rights movement, ragged â70s communes, the romanticization of the Sandinistas, up to the Occupy movement of the momentâwe come to understand through Lethemâs extraordinarily vivid storytelling that the personal may be political, but the political, even more so, is personal.
Â Â Â Â Lethemâs characters may pursue their fates within History with a capital H, but his novel isâat its mesmerizing, beating heartâabout love.
From the Hardcover edition.
This edition also contains Dissident Gardens
About: A New York Times Notable BookOne of the Best Books of the Year: Chicago Tribune, Village Voice, The Globe and MailJonathan Lethem, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the MacArthur Fellowship whose writing has been called “as ambitious as [Norman] Mailer, as funny as Philip Roth, and as stinging as Bob Dylan” (Los Angeles Times), returns with an epic yet intimate family saga.
About: A dazzling novel from one of our finest writersâan epic yet intimate family saga about three generations of all-American radicalsAt the center of Jonathan Lethemâs superb new novel stand two extraordinary women: Rose Zimmer, the aptly nicknamed Red Queen of Sunnyside, Queens, is an unreconstructed Communist who savages neighbors, family, and political comrades with the ferocity of her personality and the absolutism of her beliefs.
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