America America by Ethan Canin
A Novel

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Synopsis

In the early 1970s, Corey Sifter, the son of working-class parents, becomes a yard boy on the grand estate of the powerful Metarey family. Soon, through the family’s generosity, he is a student at a private boarding school and an aide to the great New York senator Henry Bonwiller, who is running for president. Before long, Corey finds himself involved with one of the Metarey daughters as well, and he begins to leave behind the world of his upbringing. As the Bonwiller campaign gains momentum, Corey finds himself caught up in a complex web of events in which loyalty, politics, sex, and gratitude conflict with morality, love, and the truth. Ethan Canin’s stunning novel is about America as it was and is, a remarkable exploration of how vanity, greatness, and tragedy combine to change history and fate.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Ethan Canin

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Ethan Canin is the author of six books, including the story collections Emperor of the Air and The Palace Thief and the novels For Kings and Planets and Carry Me Across the Water. He is on the faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and divides his time between Iowa and northern Michigan. He is also a physician.
 
Published June 24, 2008 by Random House. 484 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for America America

Kirkus Reviews

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Liam sees a disciplined worker in Corey, self-discipline being the bedrock of character, and hires him as a part-time groundskeeper, then pays his way at a prestigious boarding school as Corey begins a tentative relationship with one of Liam’s daughters.

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The New York Times

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But clueless is the rule in “America America.” Corey is 50 when he recalls and half-heartedly takes a stab at interpreting in 2006 — on the occasion of Senator Bonwiller’s death — the events of 1971 and 1972, which ended in the candidate’s disgrace owing not as much to his part in JoEllen’s deat...

Jul 06 2008 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

The New York Times

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As the title “America America” suggests, Ethan Canin seems to have set out to write a great big American novel in the tradition of Theodore Dreiser, a novel dealing not only with love and death and familial and romantic relationships but also with class and politics and societal expectations.

Jun 20 2008 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

The New York Times

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He’s still tugging his forelock as a 50-year-old newsman, claiming not to know which of his fellow small-town citizens are Republicans and which are Democrats.) If you choose to be guided by this narrator through these events — proceeding coincidentally with the time of the Vietnam War and Waterg...

Jul 06 2008 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

The Guardian

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America America by Ethan Canin Find this on the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop The year is 1971 and working-class boy Corey Sifter's life is changed...

Jul 12 2009 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

The Guardian

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America, America by Ethan Canin Find this on the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop Told in flashbacks, this is the story of Corey Sifter, teenage son o...

Jul 04 2009 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

The Guardian

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America America Ethan Canin Bloomsbury £17.99, pp458 There comes a time in the mid-life of every male American writer when he feels compelled to make his big statement about the state of the union.

Jul 13 2008 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

The Guardian

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Metarey takes Corey under his wing, packs him off to a private school and hires him as an aide to the brutally ambitious New York senator Henry Bonwiller, whose bid for the presidency Metarey is masterminding.

Jul 26 2008 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

(One wonders if Canin, given Kennedy's current health, regrets fashioning such a morally bankrupt character in his image.) Corey, working for the Metareys and constantly pressed into Bonwiller's service, does not understand the extent to which he himself — dazzled by the glamour — has been dragge...

Jun 13 2008 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

The Bookbag

The book is structured as Corey's attempt to establish the facts of a Chappaquiddick-esque scandal 30 years earlier which cost Bonwiller his attempt at the presidency.

Oct 24 2009 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

San Francisco Chronicle

Glittering names float through the Metarey estate - Averell Harriman, Daniel Patrick Moynihan - but at a certain point I hungered for the appearance of a single character resembling the new, rougher breed of movers and shakers - Frank Mankiewicz, Gary Hart - who had a lot more to do with what hap...

Jul 15 2008 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

Oprah.com

Ethan Canin's America America (Random House) returns us to the Nixonian 1970s, when reformers dreamed of changing the political climate even as their actions polluted it.

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Austin Chronicle

The Metarey house becomes campaign headquarters, Mr. Metarey is the principal financial backer, and Corey becomes valet and errand boy to the campaign.

Jul 04 2008 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

The Jewish Chronicle

At one point, a trainee reporter tells Corey: “I don’t think you’re presuming enough conspiracy.” Whatever America America lacks, it’s not conspiracy.

Aug 27 2009 | Read Full Review of America America: A Novel

Reader Rating for America America
70%

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