Short Century: A Novel

Short Century: A Novel

by David Burr Gerrard
     
 

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When a mysterious blogger reveals renowned pro-war journalist Arthur Hunt’s long-ago incestuous affair with his smart but impressionable younger sister, Emily, Arthur writes a memoir in defense of his life, coming to terms with his shattered sense of self, his skewed political ideals, and the crumbling American empire he has been struggling to uphold. An

Overview


When a mysterious blogger reveals renowned pro-war journalist Arthur Hunt’s long-ago incestuous affair with his smart but impressionable younger sister, Emily, Arthur writes a memoir in defense of his life, coming to terms with his shattered sense of self, his skewed political ideals, and the crumbling American empire he has been struggling to uphold. An angry but eloquent narrator in the tradition of Philip Roth and Thomas Bernhard, Arthur recounts his relationship with Emily, weaving in his claustrophobic WASP childhood, his '60s student radical days at Yale, and his vociferous support for America’s war in Iraq and its continuing drone campaign.

Capturing the tumult of recent American history, Short Century is filled with supporting characters as memorable as Arthur— including Miranda, his mercurial college girlfriend; Jersey Rothstein, the charismatic free-love guru for whom Miranda leaves Arthur; their son Jason, who signs up to serve in Iraq, where he is killed; their daughter Sydney, who follows Arthur into pro-war punditry; and their daughter Daisy, who chooses to wear a burqa. With a broad historical scope but an intimate personal focus, this is a novel about America, family, and how the desire for freedom is often entangled with darker impulses.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"David Burr Gerrard's masterfully woven debut novel...takes the reader from discussions of war, journalism, and their agencies into a metaphysical, almost Nabokovian intrigue." —Matthew Daddona, The Los Angeles Review of Books

"Like one of Arthur Hunt’s beloved drone strikes, Short Century hits with devastating accuracy."—Scott Cheshire, The Brooklyn Rail

"I’ve tried to stop thinking about Arthur Hunt, the unreliable memoirist and antihero of the thrillingly ambitious Short Century, but I can’t. Hunt’s outsized depredations—political, moral, sexual—are acutely satirized in this dark, funny, unflinching novel. David Burr Gerrard is a scarily clever young man, with a talent as subversively unforgettable as his artful creation."—Rebecca Mead, author of My Life in Middlemarch

"David Burr Gerrard's Short Century is one of the smartest, wittiest and most original novels I've read in a long time. With a dark humor reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis and a playful intellectual energy all its own—as well as a surprisingly touching human story at its center—this deft, clever and thoroughly well-written book is riveting and a pleasure to read."—Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P

"I tore through Short Century. Gerrard is a very promising young writer and a sick SOB."—Spencer Ackerman, national security editor, The Guardian

"An astute and searing look at the political and cultural mores of the last fifty years—in all their savagery and good intentions."—Fiona Maazel, author of Last Last Chance and Woke Up Lonely

"In this audacious, ferociously funny novel, David Burr Gerrard shows us how easily our idealism and dearly held loyalties can lead us to dark places and even darker appetites. He creates an anti-hero who is both a tribute to and a take-down of Philip Roth's fictional creations and an embodiment of the unfulfilled promises of the American political and cultural scene. Subversive yet full of feeling, wicked yet somehow big-hearted, Short Century seems to balance on the edge of a knife."—Amy Grace Loyd, author of The Affairs of Others

"Short Century is painfully smart, the good kind of pain. David Burr Gerrard pushes every hot button in Short Century—personal, familial, and political—and dances in the fallout. If David Corn and Georges Bataille had a baby it would read like Short Century."—Tupelo Hassman, author of Girlchild

“A sly shout at America’s backcountry ways, and a love story so brilliant and debauched it summons Humbert Humbert. Gerrard delves into a heart of darkness and emerges poised and praiseworthy.”—Alex Gilvarry, author of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant

"Short Century is a revelatory debut that forces us to reexamine what we’ve told ourselves about family, politics, our personal beliefs and national mythologies. A brave new voice in the Rothian tradition, David Burr Gerrard has created an unforgettable portrait of a man both defined by and complicit in defining his era."—Courtney Elizabeth Mauk, author of Spark

"Short Century is the gutsy debut novel from one of our most compelling new voices. Difficult to put down. Impossible to forget." —Julian Tepper, author of Balls
“A brave new voice in the Rothian tradition.” —Courtney Elizabeth Mauk, author of Spark

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781940207070
Publisher:
Rare Bird Books
Publication date:
03/18/2014
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,253,866
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

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Meet the Author


David Burr Gerrard is a writer living in Queens, NY. He's a contributing editor for Tottenville Review and his has also appeared in The Awl, The Millions, Full Stop, Specter, Extract(s), and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing at Manhattanville College. This is his first novel.

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