Art in America: A Novel

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Overview

Withis firstwo novels , Ron McLarty won acclaim for fashioning authentic characters that hook readers from the first page. With Art in America, McLarty has invented another unforgettable protagonist in one failed writer, Steven Kearney. Hired by the Creedemore Historical Society to write and direct a play about the rural Southern Colorado town, he unwittingly stumbles into a range war over property rights, a media circus, a diabolical plan that threatens the very safety of the town-and, with the help of a little ...

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Art in America: A Novel

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Overview

Withis firstwo novels , Ron McLarty won acclaim for fashioning authentic characters that hook readers from the first page. With Art in America, McLarty has invented another unforgettable protagonist in one failed writer, Steven Kearney. Hired by the Creedemore Historical Society to write and direct a play about the rural Southern Colorado town, he unwittingly stumbles into a range war over property rights, a media circus, a diabolical plan that threatens the very safety of the town-and, with the help of a little romance, newfound self-confidence. With its sprawling cast of vivid characters and spellbinding pace, Art in America confirms Ron McLarty's enormous talent.

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Editorial Reviews

David Baldacci
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest meets A Confederacy of Dunces. McLarty's storytelling skills shine in this ribald, riotously funny but also poignant novel. You'll never look at the theater or the state of Colorado in quite the same way after reading it.
Publishers Weekly

Ambitious and consistently charming, this overstuffed third novel by the author of The Memory of Runningis brimming with gems of richly observed smalltown life. In Creedemore, Colo., a land-rights dispute pitches locals against one another and attracts national media attention. Into the fray arrives Steven Kearney, a prolific New York author of unpublished novels, poems and plays, who has been invited by the Creedemore Historical Society to write and direct a play dramatizing the town's history. Steven's relocation sparks a colorful fish-out-of-water story populated with cowboys, environmental activists, hordes of reporters, performance artists, ecoterrorists and bona fide outlaws. Keeping the peace is sheriff Petey Myers, whose recollections of (and occasional conversations with) his slain partner provide some of the novel's finest moments. Sparkling, at times hilarious dialogue keeps many—perhaps too many—subplots moving. The depth of characters like Steven and Petey is contrasted by some of the minor characters, who can come off as stereotypes. Still, readers will root for the residents of Creedemore as they alternately divide over a trial and come together to stage the new play. (July)

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Kirkus Reviews
The actor-playwright turned novelist offers a hefty slice of Americana-inflected entertainment in his latest novel (Traveler, 2007, etc.). After offering a laboriously comic itinerary of its NYC author-protagonist Steven Kearney's numerous unpublishable novels and plays, McLarty settles into a rich characterization of a hopeful loser bereft of both literary success and his angry girlfriend. Steven is thrown a lifeline when the town of Creedemore, Colo., offers him a lucrative residency in return for writing a historical play about the area's storied origins. So it's off to Creedemore, where Steven is greeted by an officious spinster and introduced to Creedemore's eccentric populace. Brisk short chapters move things along smartly, and action abounds, as a range war of sorts erupts between near-centenarian feed-store mogul and landowner Ticky Lettgo (we're not making this up) and "Mountain Man" Red Fields, an environmentalist Age-of-Aquarian planning to offer adventurous river rafting trips through waters Ticky claims are also his exclusive property. Add in juxtaposed peeks back east, where Steven's buddies Roarke (a lesbian actress-director) and Tubby (a Falstaffian construction worker) keep tabs on his western adventures, and you have a cheerfully overstuffed tale whose ungainly bulk is redeemed by energetic prose and busy comic detail. There are also loud protests, some politically inspired, others motivated by sheer cussedness; lively courtroom battles; a bomb threat or two; and an overload of macho posturing (some of it performed by female characters). Vivid characters pop up frequently, including a transplanted Eastern sheriff (a man of reason serving where unreason rules), afoulmouthed reverend and a man known as "Cowboy Poet," a tireless fount of hilarious doggerel. And there's a corker of a climax, during which we're treated to the memorable opening scenes of Steven's commissioned sagebrush masterpiece. An actor adept at entertaining and holding an audience shows himself a novelist gifted with the same skills. The book is not a masterpiece, but it's an immensely engaging and winning performance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143115540
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 672,008
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ron McLarty is an award-winning actor and playwright best known for his appearances on television series, including Law & Order, Sex and the City, The Practice, and Judging Amy. He has appeared in films and on the stage, where he has directed many of his own plays.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    Jonathan

    Hi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    Mandy

    Wats up

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Terrific!!!!

    Heart, soul and wit...what more could one ask of art in america?

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