|Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Liveright (February 3, 2014)
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Abraham Lincoln – Sixteenth President of the United States.
Mary Todd Lincoln – First Lady.
Lincoln’s life told from a first person perspective and in the form of a historical novel.
Jerome Charyn is mostly known by me for his Isaac Sidel police novels. This one was a great change of pace, and was about one of my own personal heroes. The novel covers Lincoln’s life from working in a general store all the way up through his election and subsequent assassination.
History unfolds through the eyes of Lincoln and the reader gets a chance to see into Lincoln’s head as he reacts to the events going on around him. We get to witness the death of his sons, his wife’s descent into mental health, and the struggles he dealt with in trying to hold together the republic. The reader also gets a glimpse into the seldom looked at element of Mr. Lincoln and that is his struggles with depression. This aspect of the novel really gives him a humanity and brings the character to life, and is very relatable to the reader.
I actually learned quite a bit about Lincoln while reading this. For example, I’d never heard of the Clarys Grove Boys until reading this. A lot of the information seemed consistent with historical fact, though I think the author may have taken some artistic license in recreating conversations.
Overall though, I found it very enjoyable and I think it would appeal to the history fans and those who are fans of historical fiction. So check it out, and be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.
About the Author
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”
New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”
Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.
Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.
In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, “The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong.”
Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.
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*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out Nicole at Tribute Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.