Art in America

Art in America

5.0 3
by Ron McLarty
     
 

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Author of the acclaimed novel The Memory of Running, Ron McLarty is an American original whose infectious prose will swiftly ensnare any reader. Art in America tells the story of unknown writer Steven Kearney, an aging man whose lifelong commitment to his art finally brings him to homelessness in NYC. Then miraculously he receives an invitation to become playwright

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Overview

Author of the acclaimed novel The Memory of Running, Ron McLarty is an American original whose infectious prose will swiftly ensnare any reader. Art in America tells the story of unknown writer Steven Kearney, an aging man whose lifelong commitment to his art finally brings him to homelessness in NYC. Then miraculously he receives an invitation to become playwright in residence of a troubled Rocky Mountain town.

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 Into the fray arrives Steven Kearney, a prolific New York author of unpublished novels, poems and plays, who has been invited by the Creedemore Historical Society to write and direct a play dramatizing the town's history.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:
9781419369216
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
10/28/2009

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