Quinn's Book

Quinn's Book

by William Kennedy

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From the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Ironweed. The narration is by Daniel Quinn, orphan, of his adventure ridden quest for true love and the answer to the elusive riddle of his own fate.


From the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Ironweed. The narration is by Daniel Quinn, orphan, of his adventure ridden quest for true love and the answer to the elusive riddle of his own fate.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
All praise to Kennedy for a bold departure from the books that (finally) made his great reputationthe Albany cycle culminating in Ironweed. His new novel is, as they say, something completely different. The scene is still Albany and environs, but the time is the decade or so preceding the Civil War, the tone high fantastical. Daniel Quinn is a self-reliant orphan whose pluck, enterpriseand love for the dashing but elusive Maud Fallonmake him a friend of many notables and eventually a famous war correspondent. But narrative is not the essence here, though the book is full of incident and adventure, sometimes shocking, often brutal, nearly always told with the vivid colors of dream. Kennedy seems out to catch the 19th century American mindset as represented in some quintessential, legendary figures: a flamingly erotic dancer, a tough mountain of a man who rises to the top by the power of his fists and his love of gambling, the warm matriarch of a great old Dutch family, the endlessly resourceful black who helps fellow escaped slaves north to safety. There is natural calamity, riot and tragedy, leavened by frequent, unexpected humor. The book is so richly packed that sometimes the reader (and perhaps the author) loses all sense of forward motion and simply revels in the detail of the moment; this is what novels could be like if a writer felt no duty beyond that of entertaining, on a broad and generous scale but without foolishness, and crammed in anything that took his fancy. In the end, it is Quinn's endless, apparently effortless invention that dazzles, like a virtuoso musician improvising. Those who demand to know ``What's the point?'' or ``What's it all about?'' may cavil. But it gives a new spin to the tired notion of ``a good read,'' for the reader is almost as actively involved as the brilliant, chance-taking author. 200,00 copy first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; first serial to Esquire; BOMC and QPBC featured alternates. (May)
Library Journal
Daniel Quinn, America's foremost Civil War reporter, recalls his adolescent years in and around Albany, New York, and his 15-year pursuit of the mysterious Maud Fallon, a theater star world-renowned for her nude interpretations of Byron and Keats. Quinn has a newsman's eye for detail, and history buffs will enjoy his accounts of the anti-draft riots, the underground railroad, and Saratoga racing in its heyday. However, as in the rest of the ``Albany cycle,'' real people and events take on an almost mythological significance. Set a century earlier than his other novels, and written in a bombastic prose style reminiscent of 19th-century journalese, this novel will surprise fans of the Depression-era Kennedy. While too full of loose ends to be judged a complete success, this is nevertheless an important work of fiction. Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch., Los Angeles

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Albany Cycle , #4
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.14(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

William Kennedy, author, screenwriter and playwright, was born and raised in Albany, New York. Kennedy brought his native city to literary life in many of his works. The Albany cycle, includes Legs, Billy Phelan's Greatest Game, and the Pulitzer Prize winning Ironweed.The versatile Kennedy wrote the screenplay for Ironweed, the play Grand View, and cowrote the screenplay for the The Cotton Club with Francis Ford Coppola. Kennedy also wrote the nonfiction O Albany! and Riding the Yellow Trolley Car. Some of the other works he is known for include Roscoe and Very Old Bones.

Kennedy is a professor in the English department at the State University of New York at Albany. He is the founding director of the New York State Writers Institute and, in 1993, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has received numerous literary awards, including the Literary Lions Award from the New York Public Library, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Governor’s Arts Award. Kennedy was also named Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters in France and a member of the board of directors of the New York State Council for the Humanities.

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