Not into Night

Not into Night

by Max Zimmer

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Overview

Told in astonishing prose, "Not into Night" is the long-awaited third novel of the series "If Where You're Going Isn't Home," the story of a boy growing up Mormon in America in pursuit of a dream to play jazz trumpet.

At nineteen, Shake Tauffler is no stranger to conflict. In the summer of 1963, as the civil rights movement inflames America, he leaves Utah, his unprotected younger siblings, and his life as a gifted jazz trumpet player behind to spend two and a half years trying to convert Austria to the Mormon faith. A mission is his last obligation – and his last chance to prove himself – to his zealous father. His interest in the fight for civil rights is visceral. Back home, the girl he loves is black, as are his heroes, the dark-skinned men from whom he's learned everything he knows about playing jazz. In Austria he tries to satisfy his father's expectation to "harvest" its people for the church. But he's drawn to the brutal struggle in the South. He tracks its events in foreign news articles, questioning whether his real purpose lies there, with a people his faith wants him to believe are cursed.

The racism of his faith has long taught Shake to keep a bright line between jazz and religion. But in Austria, once his musical gift is discovered, he's recruited by the mission to use it to "lure" people to the church. He resists but finally obeys, playing trumpet in the jazz clubs of Vienna, aware that he's betraying his black heroes in putting the music they invented to an underhanded purpose. The mix of jazz and religion ignites in a devastating night that ends the life he knows and makes him a fugitive from the punishing hand of religious law. More than half his mission – now a dark road he travels with a terrible secret – still lies ahead. His only refuge is an Austrian family whose daughter, an only child, is as eager for a big brother as Shake is for the shelter of her family's love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780985448165
Publisher: Max Zimmer
Publication date: 04/03/2020
Pages: 652
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.44(d)

About the Author

Called “a raw new voice in American fiction” by Rolling Stone magazine, Pushcart Prize winning author Max Zimmer was born in Switzerland, brought across the Atlantic at the age of four, and raised in Utah in the take-no-prisoners crucible of the Mormon faith. He earned a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Utah and was teaching fiction writing, working on a doctorate, when he was invited east for a summer at Yaddo, the writer's retreat in the upstate New York town of Saratoga.

He never intended to stay in the East. He was there to finish a sprawling novel about the West and return home in the fall to Utah. But one reason for staying kept leading to another. From Yaddo he took a job teaching fiction in the Writing Arts Program at the State University of New York in the town of Oswego. It was there that "If Where You're Going Isn't Home" was first conceived as a love story. From Oswego, he gravitated toward the city, lived and tended bar in Manhattan, and wrote for the power industry while he kept working on his craft. After seven years he moved to the northwest corner of New Jersey where he married his wife Toni and settled in to write "If Where You're Going Isn't Home" from the beginning. The East had become his home. Utah had become a place he wrote about.

Success came quickly once Max started writing. Following its nomination by Ray Carver, his first published story "Utah Died for Your Sins" was awarded the Pushcart Prize. He has read at venues ranging from coffee shops to SUNY writers' conferences to the Pen New Writers Series. His novels and stories have been taught in college courses. E. L. Doctorow, John Cheever, Jack Cady, Grace Paley, Lewis Turco, and John Gardner are among the established writers who have championed his writing and storytelling talent. On a coast-to-coast tour following the publication of "Ragtime," E. L. Doctorow read his work in Utah, and called it the best work he'd seen his entire tour. After meeting Max on a similar tour after "Falconer" was released, John Cheever enthusiastically promoted his work for the last five years of his life.

Aside from the three novels that constitute “If Where You’re Going Isn’t Home,” Max has written and published poems, stories, reviews, magazine articles, short biographies, and liner notes for jazz albums. He is also the author of “Actual Mileage,” a collection of 47 human interest columns he wrote for an automotive magazine with an international readership.

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