The Radicals by Ryan McIlvain
A Novel

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Because Sam’s metamorphosis from poet to activist occurs offstage (he reads a few books Eli lends him), it comes across as a perfunctory treatment of a major plot development. At least McIlvain has the good sense not to plunge him into subversive behavior right away.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

An intimate, suspenseful, and provocative portrait of friendship and love at its limits, and a timely exploration of class tensions and corporate excess in America

When Eli first meets Sam Westergard, he is dazzled by his new friend's charisma, energy, and determined passion. Both graduate students in New York City, the two young men bond over their idealism, their love of poetry, and their commitment to socialism, both in theory and in practice—this last taking the form of an organized protest against Soline, a giant energy company that has speculated away the jobs and savings of thousands. As an Occupy-like group begins to coalesce around him, Eli realizes that some of his fellow intellectuals are more deeply—and dangerously—devoted to the cause than others. 

A fiercely intelligent, wonderfully human illustration of friendship, empathy, and suspicion in the midst of political upheaval, Ryan McIlvain's new novel confirms him as one of our most talented and distinctive writers at work today.
 

About Ryan McIlvain

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RYAN MCILVAIN is a sixth-generation Mormon who resigned his membership from the Mormon church in his mid-twenties. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals, including The Paris Review, where a portion of this novel first appeared. A Stegner fellow in fiction at Stanford from 2009 to 2011, McIlvain currently lives in Los Angeles.



Author Residence: Los Angeles
 
Published February 13, 2018 by Hogarth. 276 pages
Genres: History, Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by 937-305-7979 on Mar 09 2018

Because Sam’s metamorphosis from poet to activist occurs offstage (he reads a few books Eli lends him), it comes across as a perfunctory treatment of a major plot development. At least McIlvain has the good sense not to plunge him into subversive behavior right away.

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