Journey by Max Zimmer
(If Where You're Going Isn't Home)

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Synopsis

Journey is the first book of the groundbreaking coming-of-age trilogy If Where You're Going Isn't Home, the story of a boy growing up Mormon in America with a dream to play jazz trumpet. It is the recipient of a coveted ForeWord Clarion Five Star Review.

It begins in 1956. Young Shake Tauffler hears a line of music on the radio of a cattle truck that changes his life forever. The music is jazz. The instrument is a trumpet. His family is moving one last time - from a southern Utah ranch to a town outside Salt Lake - on his father's quest to bring his family from Switzerland to the heartland of the Mormon church. In two months, when Shake turns twelve, he'll join his buddies on a shared journey through the ranks of his father's take-no-prisoners religion. At the same time, armed with a used trumpet and his bike, he'll start another journey, on his own, to a place whose high priests aren't his father's friends but the Negro greats of jazz, men he's been taught to believe are cursed but from whose music he learns everything he dreams of being.

Shaded with Huck Finn and James Dean, Shake Tauffler is an American kid we all recognize, a kid who responds to bigotry, abuse, repression, hypocrisy, and death with courage, humor, heartbreak,  often pain, and always wonder. His rites of passage are keenly drawn and vividly familiar, his dream to play jazz shared by most any musician. But his ten-year story of growing up Mormon in America takes us to an altogether different place. Journey, the first book of the trilogy If Where You're Going Isn't Home, is for those of us who long to hunker down and lose ourselves in a big American story, one whose narrative canvas takes us from Switzerland to a southern Utah ranch, to Salt Lake and its outskirts towns, into the secret holy places of the Mormon Church, across the landscapes of Nevada, California, Las Vegas, Kentucky, Austria, the Mojave Desert. Lyrical, rowdy, unflinching, Journey follows Shake across the first four years of his search for the clarity and flight of a trumpet line to lift him like a steel bird out from under the iron sky of his faith and guide him to sexual, moral, and musical consciousness. It is a search that resolves - for now - in startling and extraordinary tenderness.

Michael Strong, literary agent and co-founder of Zola Books, describes the book this way:

"Max Zimmer has written The Great American Mormon Novel. For decades, readers have depended upon a few extraordinary writers to understand fully what it means to be an American - Philip Roth, Julia Alvarez, Ralph Ellison, Erica Jong, John Updike. Zimmer has added a critical new dimension to our shared national understanding of who we are and how we got here in this sweeping narrative. Twelve-year-old Shake Tauffler's decade-long journey through the Mormon Church and beyond will resonate with all Americans who ponder their soul and place in our changing national portrait."
 

About Max Zimmer

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I was born in Switzerland, brought across the Atlantic at the age of four, and raised like my young protagonist in Utah in the take-no-prisoners crucible of the Mormon faith. I earned a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Utah and was teaching fiction, working on a doctorate in writing, when I was invited east for a summer at Yaddo, the writer's retreat in Saratoga, New York. I never intended to stay in the East. But from Yaddo I took a job teaching fiction in the Writing Arts Program at SUNY Oswego. It was there, in the summer of 1978, that I wrote a long love story that became the genesis for "If Where You're Going Isn't Home." From Oswego, I gravitated toward the city, lived and tended bar in Manhattan, met my wife, and eventually moved to the northwest corner of New Jersey, where I settled in to write "If Where You're Going Isn't Home" from the beginning. The East had become home. Utah had become a place I wrote about. My published work includes poems, stories, reviews, magazine articles, short biographies, and liner notes for jazz albums. Success came fairly quickly once I got into writing. Following its nomination by Ray Carver, my first published story "Utah Died for Your Sins" was awarded the Pushcart Prize, and singled out in Rolling Stone magazine as a raw new voice in American fiction. I've read at venues ranging from coffee shops to SUNY writers' conferences to the Pen New Writers Series. Jack Cady, Grace Paley, Lewis Turco, and John Gardner are among other established writers who have expressed high regard and admiration for my work. E. L. Doctorow called my work the best he'd seen in a coast-to-coast college tour following the release of "Ragtime." After meeting me on a similar tour after "Falconer" was published, John Cheever enthusiastically promoted my work for the last five years of his life.
 
Published May 16, 2012 by Max Zimmer. 521 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Journey

BC Books

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Not only does Nolan provide us with a strange yet beautiful heartfelt story, he also presents us with stunning visuals, whether it is the crashing of powerful ocean waves on the beach or the visuals of buildings falling apart while the dream is collapsing.

Jul 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Journey (If Where You're Goin...

The Ranting Dragon

While Jackson managed to perfectly condense the Lord of the Rings trilogy—in which each book is denser than The Hobbit—into three films of three hours each, he decided to turn the much shorter story of The Hobbit into two films.

Dec 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Journey (If Where You're Goin...

ForeWord Reviews

Journey (If Where You’re Going Isn’t Home) is the first book of Max Zimmer’s coming of age trilogy and serves as a solid foundation for what promises to be a superlative series of novels.

Jun 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Journey (If Where You're Goin...

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