Setting Free The Kites
“Funny, devastating, and so human and humane, this novel is filled with characters so alive and complex.” – Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow
A powerful coming-of-age story of love, loss, and hope from the author of A Good American.
Setting Free the Kites tells the story of two teenagers, Robert Carter and Nathan Tilly, and the summers that mark turning points in their lives. The boys are unlikely friends: Robert is cautious, reticent, an observer; Nathan is curious, daring, and an eternal optimist. Yet when they meet on the first day of school in their coastal Maine town in 1976, they form a bond that both come to depend on. Their friendship is forged in the crucible of two family tragedies, and together the boys navigate paths away from heartbreak, finding comfort in unexpected places: the blistering crash of rock and roll records, the mysteries of a long-closed paper mill, and kites soaring high above a windswept beach. Nathan’s unflagging confidence is the catalyst for many of their adventures, but as the boys discover, too much hope can be a dangerous thing.
When Robert and Nathan take summer jobs at the local rundown amusement park, they make their first forays into a less innocent world. Amid the dilapidated thrill rides and concession stands, they come to understand that all of us keep secrets from the ones we love. In the process, they uncover some unexpected truths about family, desire, and revenge–and, most of all, about themselves.
Compelling, heart-breaking, and deeply human, Setting Free the Kites is a funny, moving drama that explores the pain and joy of childhood, and the glories of youthful friendship.
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A Good American
“Delightful… epic, lyrical, compelling” – USA Today
“Plenty of story-telling charm” – New York Times
“A near-perfect novel” – BethFishReads.com
A Good American is a story of immigrant hope.
Set in a fictional Midwestern town and spanning more than a century, the novel tells the story of three generations of the Meisenheimer family. Beginning with an improbable love affair ignited by the power of song, the story follows an unorthodox young couple as they flee to America in search of a new life together. Their new home, Beatrice, Missouri, is filled with unforgettable characters: a jazz trumpeter from the Big Easy who cooks a mean gumbo, a teenage boy trapped in the body of a giant, a pretty schoolteacher who teaches more than just music, a minister who believes he has witnessed the second coming of Christ, and a malevolent, bicycle-riding dwarf.
From bare-knuckle prizefighting and Prohibition to sweet barbershop harmonies and the Kennedy assassination, and beyond, the family is caught up in the sweep of history. Each new generation discovers afresh what it means to be an American, and in the process they sometimes finds out more about themselves than they had bargained for.
Poignant, funny, and heartbreaking, A Good American is a novel about being an outsider – in your country, in your hometown, and sometimes in your own family. It is a universal story about the families we create and places we call home.
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Click here to read an excerpt.
- A Library Journal Best Book of the Year
- Named one of the Best Books of 2012 by Bookpage Magazine
- #1 Pick for Indie Next List, February 2012.
- Amazon “Best Books of the Month” List February 2012
- Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, Spring 2012
- Barnes & Noble Top Staff Pick for Fiction, February 2012
- Midwest Connection Pick, February 2012
- #1 “Title to Pick Up Now” for O Magazine, February 2012
- “Top 2012 Summer Read” for NPR’s Morning Edition
- Costco Buyer’s Pick, February 2013
Cheaper Than Therapy: In 2013, filmmakers Viktorija Mickute and Varvara Fomina made a short film about the writing of A Good American. Watch it below.