Saturday, August 30, 2014

Today we remember the 'fifties, and more:

sLibrary of Congress
                                                                     National Book Festival

National Book Festival ImageJames Conaway

At the 2014 National Book Festival

James Conaway


  • Special Programs
    Saturday, August 30
    3:30 pm - 4:15 pm

Book Signing: The Forgotten Fifties

  • Saturday, August 30
    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
James Conaway is a former Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford University and the author of three novels, including, most recently, “Nose,” set in northern California’s wine country. He is also the author of nine books of nonfiction, the most recent being "Vanishing America: In Pursuit of Our Elusive Landscapes.” Conaway’s first novel, “The Big Easy,” is based on his experiences as a police reporter in New Orleans; his second novel, "World's End", is a Louisiana coastal saga of politics and crime. His new book is “The Forgotten Fifties: America’s Decade from the Archives of Look Magazine” (Skira Rizzoli). The Look archives are held in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Conaway will appear with Amy Pastan and Tom Wiener.
    And these four titles are now available in new quality paperback editions, two novels, a memoir, and a book of travel reportage:                                          
This novel of violence and racial strife set in New Orleans is full of social and physical contrasts. Comiski, a newspaper reporter, descends into an underworld of corrupt policemen, narcotics dealers and black militants in an attempt to unravel a mysterious grave-robbing and find some meaning in his own life. Powerful and compelling. (Originally published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin)
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: “Grim, gripping, violent and practically impossible to put down.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY: “The scene is unglamorous New Orleans — decay, dirt, garbage... smell, every kind of filth, hu- man and animal, in a brief, well-written novel of hopeless degradations that has a unique impact.” LIBRARY JOURNAL:“A short- fast-paced and absorbing novel... that probes deeply into the texture of the contempo- rary South, and entertains from first page to last.”                                                       

World’s End is about love, corruption, and retribution in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina swept much of that world away. Nostalgically bittersweet, intricately plotted, it works on several levels -- as a family saga, a political thriller, and a kind of generational noir. A compelling literary experience, and a complement to the author’s novel The Big Easy. (Originally published in hardcover by William Morrow)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: “If tight melodrama laced with sex, power grabs and corruption is your dish, you’ll devour World’s End with the relish of a hungry mule in a cornfield...a spellbinder.”
KIRKUS: “This Louisiana tale, with its Mafia crime barons pitted against corrupt-government barons, expertly lifts numerous Puzo-ian scenes and motifs — tit-for-tat violence, family honor — while adding some strong local colorations and cinematic effects... there’s enough action and avarice down among the bayous to make this a solid, never crass or tasteless, commercial entry.”                                                                         
A touching, sometimes hilarious memoir of the 1950s when southern propriety was giving way to bourbon, Elvis, and sexual discovery. With rueful wit the author artfully renders a youth of hunting and fishing giving way to brawls, debutante parties, and literary exploration. The story is told against a wistful background of the poignant portrayal of a father struck by Alzheimer’s. (Originally published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin)
Jim Lehrer in THE WASHINGTON POST — “Profound... hilarious... honest and serious... proof that the gods look more favorably on some writers than they do on others... Conaway moves through his family and life in Memphis in the ‘40s and ‘50s with the flow and grace of an impressionist painter.”
Tracy Kidder (Mountains Beyond Mountains, House) — “Exemplary... absorbing... sad and funny... It awakens our own memories, makes our own lives more available to us.”                                     

A vast, sprawling land of eternal hope and busted dreams, of grizzlies, dune buggies and range wars, dope growers, corporate bandits, ecotage and, yes, even gun-slinging. With grace and humor the author takes the reader along on an exhilarating land voyage from the Pecos River to the Pacific Northwest and south again to the Mexican border.... (Originally published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin)
Jim Harrison (author of Legends of the Fall): “A wonderful and well-considered evocation of the New West, all the better because it reads like a fine novel.”
Wallace Stegner (Angle of Repose): “He got into places and activities that most native Westerners never even get close to, and he reports them with verve, wit, irony, and a very sharp eye. He gives us, pretty much from the viewpoints of the antagonists, the battles between those who want to use the West, even to death, and those who want to preserve it... A sound and very lively book.”

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