Tuesday, February 5, 2008

"Johnny One-Eye"

New from W. W. Norton: Johnny One-Eye: A Tale of the American Revolution by Jerome Charyn.

About the book, from the publisher:

This comic masterpiece reimagines the American Revolution with a one-eyed spy, a heroic whorehouse madam, and a cunning George Washington.

Praised for one of the most “singular and remarkable [careers] in American literature” (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World), Jerome Charyn now delights with this picaresque tour de force. He reanimates a war-torn Manhattan overrun by Redcoats and deserted by all but the Loyalists — and Mrs. Gertrude Jennings, the tempestuous, redheaded queen of Manhattan’s most spectacular bordello. When the novel opens, young double agent John Stocking is being interrogated by Washington, a rebel commander far removed from the dour, silent man of most history books. As Johnny seeks to unlock the mystery of his birth and grapples with his allegiances, he falls in love with Clara, a gorgeous, green-eyed octoroon, the most coveted harlot of Gertrude’s house. The wild parade of characters he encounters includes Benedict Arnold, the Howe brothers, “Sir Billy” and “Black Dick,” and a manipulative Alexander Hamilton.

Not since John Barth’s The Sotweed Factor and Gore Vidal’s Burr has a novel so dramatically re-created America’s historical beginnings.
Visit Jerome Charyn's website.