The Turnaround by George Pelecanos, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Turnaround

The Turnaround

3.9 20
by George Pelecanos
     
 

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New York Times bestselling author George Pelecanos, "perhaps the greatest living American crime wtiter" (Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly), has written his most gripping novel yet.

On a hot summer afternoon in 1972, three teenagers drove into an unfamiliar neighborhood and changed six lives forever.

Thirty-five years after that

Overview

New York Times bestselling author George Pelecanos, "perhaps the greatest living American crime wtiter" (Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly), has written his most gripping novel yet.

On a hot summer afternoon in 1972, three teenagers drove into an unfamiliar neighborhood and changed six lives forever.

Thirty-five years after that harrowing day, one survivorreaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. But another survivor has a different plan—a burning need for retribution—and seizes the moment to claim reparation in any form he can find.

The Turnaround takes us on a journey from the rock-and-soul streets of the '70s to the changing neighborhoods of D.C. today, from the diners and auto garages of the city to the inside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the first stop for wounded men and women on their way home from war. A story of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory, and violent redemption, The Turnaround is another compelling, highly charged novel from George Pelecanos, and proves why "there's so much praise for his fiction that it's practically become a currency" (Free Lance-Star).

Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
George Pelecanos's fine new novel continues the remarkable portrait of this city he has been producing for the past 16 years. The Turnaround is his 15th novel and probably his most accessible. The unnerving violence, often drug-related, that marked many of his earlier books is muted here. The story begins with a racially inspired murder, but in time the old hatreds give way to a quest for forgiveness. It's a mature story, told with easy mastery, and no one who cares about Washington and about excellence in American writing should miss it.
—The Washington Post
Marilyn Stasio
George Pelecanos, the working man's champion among genre authors, is still keeping close neighborhood watch in The Turnaround, alert to signs of the social rot and moral decay that contribute to the generational cycles of urban crime. The home truths he examines here—that bad boys, like good boys, get their values from their fathers, and that fatherless boys are easy criminal prey—are familiar themes of his gritty Washington-based novels. But he has rarely pushed these articles of faith to such painful extremes or seemed so optimistic about the chances for redemption.
—The New York Times Book Review
Janet Maslin
"The bus he had caught was an express," Mr. Pelecanos writes about how one of the book's losers gets caught up in its inexorable movement toward darkness. But there are others here who are determined to make amends, on the theory that "you move along in life, you feel the need to make the beds you left undone." Plain as this is, it's also cogent and powerful, delivered without the preachiness into which Mr. Pelecanos has been known to lapse. He tells a tight, suspenseful story. And he packs enough of a wallop to put The Turnaround on an express bus of its own.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

As the title implies, redemption lies at the center of Pelecanos's novel as adults try to disentangle themselves from their youthful indiscretions. Some 30 years later, and still bearing the physical scars of those indiscretions, Alex Pappas halfheartedly runs a diner while dealing with the cards life has dealt him when he unexpectedly reunites with his assailants. Though there is potential for forgiveness, one of the assailants is looking to stir up trouble and bring all of them down. Dion Graham delivers a solid performance, providing a smooth-flowing narration with a deep and slightly raspy voice. His inflection and emotional projection help the more sober moments within the story. The only drawback is the similarity of his male characters' voices, which can cause confusion. A Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, June 30).(Aug.)

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Library Journal

In 1972, three white teenagers drive into a solidly African American neighborhood bent on "rais[ing] a little hell." What follows is tragic: one boy is left dead, another scarred for life, and a young African American is in prison. Thirty years later, two survivors of that fated afternoon accidentally reconnect and explore accommodation. But a third party to these past events has more sinister plans. Crime figures prominently in Pelecanos's latest depiction of life in the grittier streets of Washington, DC, but the author of The Night Gardener has always been more than a writer of crime fiction. Like Richard Price (Lush Life) and Dennis Lehane (Mystic River), with whom Pelecanos is often compared, he writes big-hearted novels of life as it is and not as we wish it were. His characters live complicated, often harrowing lives: you care what happens to them. As always, Pelecanos combines generosity of soul with scrupulous attention to detail and an acute sensitivity to the complicated dance of friendship and antagonism between people whose faces wear different colors. A virtue of this fine novel is the author's evident love for his characters, even the lost ones. Enthusiastically recommended for all general collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ4/15/08.]
—David Keymer

Kirkus Reviews
Once again using the ethnic neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., to explore issues of class and race, and the possibility of bridging those gulfs, Pelecanos (The Night Gardener, 2006, etc.) constructs a taut narrative in which the past exerts a seismic pull on the present. The backdrop of the story sends three white teenagers on a reckless 1972 joyride into a black neighborhood, alcohol undermining their better judgment, as they shout racial epithets that ignite retaliation. Black or white, everyone involved finds his life changed (and one ended) because of a mindless clash and its escalation. It isn't until 35 years later that Alex Pappas, who inherited the family's coffee shop from his father and hopes to pass it along to his son, is able to try to reconcile the past with the present, to discover what really happened on that night, to come to terms, to move on. Alex was the boy who had been most reluctant to participate in that fatal joyride, yet he went along rather than resisting. As a surprise visit reopens old wounds, the question is whether a boyhood mistake will continue to haunt him, or whether he can lay the ghosts of the past to rest. "Whatever you did before doesn't matter," says a character. "What matters now is how you make the turnaround." Pelecanos shows the distinction between those capable of making that turnaround and those who can't, while exploring a common humanity that goes deeper than differences of skin color and home turf. Between black and white, there are many shades of gray. Like his kindred spirits who have also written scripts for HBO's The Wire, Pelecanos deserves the sort of popular breakthrough that Richard Price and Dennis Lehane have enjoyed.
Randy Michael Signor
Pelecanos does what few, if any, American writers do: He tells the truth. Twain told the truth; Faulkner toyed with the truth; Hemingway told his version of the truth, and Chandler certainly told a cold, cynical truth. Pelecanos's truth is from deep in the heart, from places where red blood cells know more than all the sweet, heady words truth usually hides behind.
Chicago Sun-Times
Bruce DeSilva
George Pelecanos is one of the most literary of America's crime writers, and like most of his books, THE TURNAROUND is more than mere entertainment. This beautifully written novel, rich with carefully wrought characters, is both a fine crime story and a thoughtful exploration of race relations in the lives of ordinary Americans.
Associated Press
Randy Michael Signor - Chicago Sun-Times
"Pelecanos does what few, if any, American writers do: He tells the truth. Twain told the truth; Faulkner toyed with the truth; Hemingway told his version of the truth, and Chandler certainly told a cold, cynical truth. Pelecanos's truth is from deep in the heart, from places where red blood cells know more than all the sweet, heady words truth usually hides behind."
Bruce DeSilva - Associated Press Staff
"George Pelecanos is one of the most literary of America's crime writers, and like most of his books, THE TURNAROUND is more than mere entertainment. This beautifully written novel, rich with carefully wrought characters, is both a fine crime story and a thoughtful exploration of race relations in the lives of ordinary Americans."
Janet Maslin - New York Times
"[Pelecanos] tells a tight, suspenseful story. And he packs enough of a wallop to put THE TURNAROUND on an express bus of its own."
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR THE TURNAROUND:


"Yet another gem of urban noir....A beautifully written and thought-provoking novel of crime, friendship, aging and redemption."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)"

[Pelecanos] tells a tight, suspenseful story. And he packs enough of a wallop to put THE TURNAROUND on an express bus of its own."—Janet Maslin, New York Times"

Pelecanos does what few, if any, American writers do: He tells the truth. Twain told the truth; Faulkner toyed with the truth; Hemingway told his version of the truth, and Chandler certainly told a cold, cynical truth. Pelecanos's truth is from deep in the heart, from places where red blood cells know more than all the sweet, heady words truth usually hides behind."—Randy Michael Signor, Chicago Sun-Times"

George Pelecanos is one of the most literary of America's crime writers, and like most of his books, THE TURNAROUND is more than mere entertainment. This beautifully written novel, rich with carefully wrought characters, is both a fine crime story and a thoughtful exploration of race relations in the lives of ordinary Americans."—Bruce DeSilva, Associated Press

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316027632
Publisher:
Little, Brown & Company
Publication date:
08/01/2008
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
452
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

George Pelecanos is the author of several highly praised and bestselling novels, including The Cut, What It Was, The Way Home, The Turnaround, and The Night Gardener. He is also an independent-film producer, an essayist, and the recipient of numerous international writing awards. He was a producer and Emmy-nominated writer for The Wire and currently writes for the acclaimed HBO series Treme. He lives in Maryland.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Silver Spring, Maryland
Date of Birth:
February 18, 1957
Place of Birth:
Washington, D.C.
Education:
B.A., University of Maryland at College Park, 1980
Website:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/georgepelecanos/

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