"Of the World" is the second book of the groundbreaking coming-of-age trilogy "If Where You're Going Isn't Home," the story of a boy growing up Mormon in America with a dream to play jazz trumpet. It follows "Journey," the first book of the trilogy, and the recipient of a coveted ForeWord Clarion Five Star Review.
At sixteen, licensed to drive, armed with his trumpet and a talented band, Shake Tauffler begins to slip the harness of his home and neighborhood to test himself in the raw world of the streets and nightclubs of Salt Lake and its outlying towns. His threatened parents intensify their attacks on his emerging sexual and moral consciousness. Jazz and its negro heroes still define him, but his church takes off its gloves to teach him that in God's eyes negroes are anything but heroes. The Huck Finn days of "Journey" are over; this is the rebel Shake, conflicted, torn, haunted by the faceless mystery of never being good enough and a hunger he can't name, roaming the night alone or with his hoodlum pals, looking for refuge in hot cars, chance girls, violence, the cry of his trumpet, the faces of the American night.
In "Of the World," the Shake we met in "Journey" takes on tougher obstacles, extends his reach, becomes streetwise, and continues to meet the senseless forces of his life openly, with courage, wit, defiance, joy, and wonder. He joins the Army and becomes a tanker. He embraces the freedom from his past, the simplicity and sense of life in the real world, and the chance to define himself from scratch among his fellow soldiers. But his past rears up when he falls in love and has to face the ruthless racial dogma his faith has tried to breed in him. He returns home, a man and a hero, to a family and church who are quick to remind him who and where he is. A mission when he turns nineteen lies just ahead. The road of the life he built is ending. One last defiant self-affirming act takes him across the American desert to close it down his way.
As the promised continuation of the first book, "Of the World" is for readers who enjoy losing themselves in a big American story. It is alive with scenes that weave the lives of his family, his band, his church buddies, and his hoodlum pals into a rich, kaleidoscopic, constantly moving narrative. The reach of its settings takes in Salt Lake and its outskirts towns, the secret holy places of the Mormon Church, the landscapes of Nevada, California, Las Vegas, Kentucky, the Mojave Desert.
Michael Strong, co-founder and COO of Zola Books, says this about the trilogy:
"Max Zimmer has written the Great American Mormon Novel. For decades, readers have depended upon a few extraordinary writers to understand fully what it means to be an American - Philip Roth, Julia Alvarez, Ralph Ellison, Erica Jong, John Updike. Zimmer has added a critical new dimension to our shared national understanding of who we are and how we got here in this sweeping narrative. Twelve-year-old Shake Tauffler's decade-long journey through the Mormon Church and beyond will resonate with all Americans who ponder their soul and place in our changing national portrait."
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.15(d)|
About the Author
Max's published work includes poems, stories, reviews, magazine articles, short biographies, and liner notes for jazz albums. Success came quickly once he started writing. Following its nomination by Ray Carver, his first published story "Utah Died for Your Sins" was awarded the Pushcart Prize, and singled out in Rolling Stone as a raw new voice in American fiction. Jack Cady, Grace Paley, Lewis Turco, and John Gardner are among the established writers who have acknowledged and championed his work. E. L. Doctorow called his work the best he'd read in a coast-to-coast college tour following the release of "Ragtime". After meeting him on a similar tour after "Falconer" was published, John Cheever enthusiastically promoted Max's work for the last five years of his life.
As a break from the long and ambitious project that If Where You're Going Isn't Home has been, Max writes poetry, short fiction, and for the last seven years an anything-goes humor and human interest column under the heading "Actual Mileage" - inspired by a Ray Carver story - for an automotive magazine with an international readership. As a rare break from writing period, he'll go out and hear some musicians he knows play jazz, spend time with his family, or take his homebuilt Porsche Speedster out and get lost in the roads through the farmland out toward the Delaware River and the Poconos.