Testing the Current

Testing the Current

5.0 8
by William McPherson
     
 

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Growing up in a small upper Midwestern town in the late 1930s, young Tommy MacAllister is scarcely aware of the Depression, much less the rumblings of war in Europe. For his parents and their set, life seems to revolve around dinners and dancing at the country club, tennis dates and rounds of golf, holiday parties, summers on the Island, and sparkling occasions

Overview

Growing up in a small upper Midwestern town in the late 1930s, young Tommy MacAllister is scarcely aware of the Depression, much less the rumblings of war in Europe. For his parents and their set, life seems to revolve around dinners and dancing at the country club, tennis dates and rounds of golf, holiday parties, summers on the Island, and sparkling occasions full of people and drinks and food and laughter. But curious as he is and impatient to grow up, Tommy will soon come to glimpse the darkness that lies beneath so much genteel complacency: hidden histories and embarrassing poor relations; the subtle (and not so subtle) slighting of the “help”; the mockery of President Roosevelt; and “the commandment they talked least about in Sunday school,” adultery.
    
In Testing the Current William McPherson subtly sets off his wide-eyed protagonist’s perspective with mature reflection and wry humor and surrounds him with a cast of vibrant characters, creating a scrupulously observed portrait of a place and time that will shimmer in readers’ minds long after the final page is turned.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The dawning of the world's hard truths upon this boy's consciousness is depicted with a subtlety that...is something close to breathtaking...We have here a book that looks for all the world like a piece of art." —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
 
“I can’t remember another novel which captures a Midwestern childhood—that mysterious unwritten-about world. . . . It could have been my town and my life.”  —Diane Johnson

“William McPherson’s first novel is an extraordinary, intelligent, powerful and, I believe, permanent contribution to the literature of family, childhood and memory….From the first sentence of Testing the Current to the last, there is not one false note, one forced image. It is a novel written with great skill, and with love. It’s what most good first novels aspire to be.” —Russell Banks, The New York Times
 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590176023
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
01/08/2013
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
290,149
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The dawning of the world's hard truths upon this boy's consciousness is depicted with a subtlety that...is something close to breathtaking...We have here a book that looks for all the world like a piece of art." —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
 
“I can’t remember another novel which captures a Midwestern childhood—that mysterious unwritten-about world. . . . It could have been my town and my life.”  —Diane Johnson

“William McPherson’s first novel is an extraordinary, intelligent, powerful and, I believe, permanent contribution to the literature of family, childhood and memory….From the first sentence of Testing the Current to the last, there is not one false note, one forced image. It is a novel written with great skill, and with love. It’s what most good first novels aspire to be.” —Russell Banks, The New York Times
 

Meet the Author

William McPherson (b. 1933) is a Pulitzer Prize–winning literary critic, editor, journalist, and novelist. Born and reared in Michigan, he attended three universities over the course of seven years but left before attaining a degree. After a stint in the Merchant Marine (he is still an able-bodied seaman), he started at The Washington Post as a copyboy in 1958, soon becoming a staff writer and editor. He spent several years as a senior editor at William Morrow & Co. and returned to the Post, first as its daily book editor, then as founding editor of its independent book section, Book World. Later he moved to the newspaper’s editorial page, where he selected the letters to the editor and wrote a weekly op-ed column. After a two-year leave of absence, he left the newspaper in 1987 to write full time. His first novel, Testing the Current, was originally published in 1984. A second, To the Sargasso Sea, published in 1987, took up the story of the first novel some thirty years later. In 1989 he went to Berlin as the Wall was coming down and ended up in Romania in early 1990, shortly after the fall of the Communist regime, intending to stay for three days. Instead, he spent most of the next six years there, writing about post-Communist Romania for The Washington Post, Granta, and The Wilson Quarterly.

D. T. Max is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He is the author of The Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery, published in 2007, and Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, published in 2012.

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Testing the Current 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kudos to the New York Review Books & B&N for this reprint of this exceptional novel. I have been an avid reader since I was old enough to hold a book and was in retail book management for 15 years. So if I own it, it's worth reading. I own the original cloth version and was sad it was unavailable for so long. Now I will no longer have to keep lending my cherished copy to friends. It is on my top 10 favorite novels of all time. The magic of this book is that it is narrated through the eyes of a young innocent boy, Tommy. This is a book you will want to curl up with and read from the first sentence until you finish the last page. Highly recommend to book clubs!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Winterstar?" She mews. "How did the twoleg caught you?" She said sinking farther into her cage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cant tell you im sorry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bhfhfhdhhdhvehghggfgfgvhfgftd
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*hands her a stick and says* Jadepaw bite down and push your going to be ok. *he runs to get rasberry leaves*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hullo my coveys. May i join mate?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good Morning! Did I iss anything? Sry I wasnt on. It was late at nite, and I was rly tired so...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Winterstar is ill go get her