The Washington Story

The Washington Story

by Adam Langer
     
 

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In The Washington Story, Adam Langer revisits his extraordinary cast of characters from Crossing California, each inextricably linked by love, betrayal, reunions, sex, death, and rebirth-and all holding out hope that their dreams are worth pursuing, as they come of age in a very particular time in American history.

Overview

In The Washington Story, Adam Langer revisits his extraordinary cast of characters from Crossing California, each inextricably linked by love, betrayal, reunions, sex, death, and rebirth-and all holding out hope that their dreams are worth pursuing, as they come of age in a very particular time in American history.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Langer's dense, sprawling follow up to Crossing California features the same ambitious clutch of high-schoolers on the cusp of Harold Washington's bid for Chicago mayor in 1982. In the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of West Rogers Park, junior Jill Wasserstrom works as a cub reporter for the Lane Leader and entertains a crush on irreverent senior editor Wes Sullivan; Jill's usual boyfriend, Muley Wills, is in Cape Canaveral working on the space shuttle Columbia and bedding his seductive lab partner. Jill's sister, Michelle, pops in from New York to snag the lead role in Mel Coleman's film Godfathers of Soul, and embarks on a hot affair with the director, who's black, 20 years her senior and dating Muley's mother. Wes is exposed for fabricating his stories on race, and Jill heads off to Vassar, where she becomes involved with the local Miscellany News and rekindles contact with her grandmother. An eloquent final chapter, "Kaddish," takes place at the time of the Challenger liftoff and the passing of Halley's Comet, when Muley's producer father is gunned down in his studio. Though overflowing with plot lines and detail, Langer's latest is another fine portrait of an era, a city and its very human inhabitants. Agent, Marly Rusoff. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Langer's debut, Crossing California, revolved around teens Jill and Michelle Wasserman, Muley Wills, and Larry Rovner in Chicago's predominantly Jewish West Rogers Park. In this sequel, circa 1982-87, almost two years have passed. Michelle is in college studying acting, Larry is working on a musical, and Jill and Muley-an aspiring journalist and filmmaker, respectively-finish high school. Jill and Muley's relationship is tested by separation and other people, but the strength of this novel is the cast of comical characters that revolve around them as well as the Eighties nostalgia, which are both well integrated into the plot. Told in five parts referring to Hebrew words for boundaries, choices, exodus, mourning, and homecoming, the novel spans the mayoral term of Harold Washington and the political and cultural events of the Eighties, from the Challenger disaster to the Reagan-Gorbachev standoff. Those who have not read the previous novel will find themselves at home by the end of Part 1. Recommended for larger collections.-Joshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Langer's young Chicagoans take on the '80s with a vengeance. The kids who filled the pages of Langer's debut, Crossing California (2004), with their passions, idiocies and dreams are leaving high school and stepping into the world. This second installment of their story is set during the Reagan years (1982-87). While the Iran hostage crisis served as a touchstone in Crossing California, here it's the election of Chicago's first black mayor, Harold Washington. The style is still obsessively catalog-like, page after page laying out the Chicago terrain in exhaustive detail. You could practically draw a map of the city after reading this book, not to mention know what movies were showing at the time and what music was on the radio (on what stations, even). As in Crossing California, Langer appends a glossary of terms relevant to the time period. ("Genug," by the way, is Yiddish for "enough," and "Garfield," if you don't already know, is a "cartoon cat created by Jim Davis; ubiquitous in college dorm rooms circa 1984.") Characters, of course, are what matter here most. The battling Wasserstrom sisters, Michelle and Jill, have left Chicago for NYU and Vassar, to work toward careers in acting and politics, respectively, and the quiet genius Muley Willis (the true hero of both books) attends art school in Chicago, where he develops self-destructing art installations. Meanwhile, angry rich kid Wes Sullivan vies with Muley for Jill's affections, and a pair of mismatched impresarios try to kick-start the local film industry, with a disastrous gangster flick, Godfathers of Soul. Although the novel's scope has widened to include Florida, the East Coast and even Germany, the wind-swept streets ofChicago remain at its center. One hopes that a third installment, taking us into the '90s, is not too far off. Another richly detailed and overstuffed novel, both joyful and heartbreaking.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594482182
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
09/05/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Adam Langer has worked as a print journalist, film producer, and playwright. A former senior editor of Book Magazine, Langer was born and grew up in Chicago.

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