American Spirit

Dan Kennedy. Little A/New Harvest, $26 (342p) ISBN 978-0-544-03204-0
A Connecticut man loses his high-paying job and takes up drunk-jogging, drug-peddling, and commu-nity center crafting in Kennedy's mid-life revival novel. After peeing on the carpet of his own private office, 40 year-old Matthew Harris is fired and forced to re-examine the tragedies of his childhood and recent past: the death of his parents in a plane crash, his subsequent orphan hood, and the devastating end of his first marriage. But instead of mourning his bad fortune and lack of health insurance, Mat-thew turns to living in his leased car, illegally buying a gun for self-esteem and/or protection, and fre-quenting programs at the community center. There, with a jaded sense of enlightenment, Matthew be-gins making aphoristic coffee mugs in craft class with the original logos "NOT ZEN, INC." and "MADE IN MY CAR". The humor and struggle of within contain a healing brand of cynicism, a won-der borne from hallucinogenic highs that decides, "Maybe whatever life one gets is more than we were ever owed to begin with." Kennedy (Rock On), host of The Moth storytelling series, has far surpassed the creation of character and conjured an entity so alive in its knowledge of impending death that we're captured in a new idea of what it's like to live. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
Release date: 05/28/2013
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