Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta
A Novel

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Synopsis

Dana Spiotta, whom Michiko Kakutani called "wonderfully observant and wonderfully gifted...with an uncanny feel for the absurdities and sadness of contemporary life" (The New York Times), has written a bold and moving novel about a fugitive radical from the 1970s who has lived in hiding for twenty-five years. Eat the Document is a hugely compelling story of activism, sacrifice, and the cost of living a secret.

In the heyday of the 1970s underground, Bobby DeSoto and Mary Whittaker -- passionate, idealistic, and in love -- design a series of radical protests against the Vietnam War. When one action goes wrong, the course of their lives is forever changed. The two must erase their past, forge new identities, and never see each other again.

Now it is the 1990s. Mary lives in the suburbs with her fifteen-year-old son, who spends hours immersed in the music of his mother's generation. She has no idea where Bobby is, whether he is alive or dead.

Shifting between the protests in the 1970s and the consequences of those choices in the 1990s, Dana Spiotta deftly explores the connection between the two eras -- their language, technology, music, and activism. Character-driven and brilliant, Eat the Document is an important and revelatory novel about the culture of rebellion, with particular resonance now.
 

About Dana Spiotta

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Dana Spiotta is the author of Eat the Document, which was nominated for a National Book Award, and Lightning Field, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. She teaches in the MFA program at Syracuse University and lives in New York with her husband and daughter.
 
Published February 21, 2006 by Scribner. 304 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Eat the Document

Kirkus Reviews

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Spiotta follows Mary through the years as she moves from one community to the next, the heat always on her back, a kind and conscientious woman just a couple loaves of bread shy of being a full-on earth mother.

Oct 15 2005 | Read Full Review of Eat the Document: A Novel

The New York Times

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Although some of her people's tales are less engaging than others — Henry's hallucinations about Agent Orange and napalm, in particular, seem forced and contrived — they come together to provide a symphonic portrait of three decades of American life, an era bookended by the radicalism of the Weat...

Feb 03 2006 | Read Full Review of Eat the Document: A Novel

The New York Times

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The bookstore is a magnet for a new generation of iconoclasts — antiglobalists and earth and animal liberators — whom Bobby dismisses as "the same weird misfits, week after week, with different names and new ideas, new actions, long discussions of .

Feb 26 2006 | Read Full Review of Eat the Document: A Novel

The Guardian

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Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta Picador £12.99, pp304 Mary and Bobby are on the run after a Vietnam War protest has gone horribly wrong.

Mar 11 2007 | Read Full Review of Eat the Document: A Novel

London Review of Books

It makes the breast moist and the skin crisp and flavourful’), another in which a thin young woman buys a giant scone from a wholefood bakery (‘one scone, a single thing .

| Read Full Review of Eat the Document: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Laurie Stone New York Times 4 of 5 Stars "[The novel] possesses the staccato ferocity of a Joan Didion essay and the historical resonance and razzle-dazzle language of a Don DeLillo novel.

Aug 28 2007 | Read Full Review of Eat the Document: A Novel

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