CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH are Josh’s stock-in-trade, as demonstrated by his widely praised earlier works: the story collection Short People and The Sabotage Café, his first novel. Both there and here he covers virtually every stage from birth to adulthood with tremendous understanding and compassion, great humor and deep sadness.
THE SIXTIES amount to a six-hundred-pound gorilla that we don’t want to stop wrestling with: our most glorious moment or the bitter end of civilization as we once knew it? Revolutionaries gives readers a ringside seat to that tumultuous stretch and is sure to provoke a visceral, even personal response in many of them. There’s no such thing as the Greatest Novel of the Sixties, but Josh’s will find its place as part of that discussion.
CELEBRITIES THEREOF: Beyond the made-up Snyder family—though Lenny will remind some of Abbie Hoffman or other leading lights of that era—we meet such real-life characters as Phil Ochs and William Kunstler (who represents the incarcerated Lenny). These people might come as news to younger readers while being long familiar to older ones, who will find their portrayals intriguing. And many background names and faces are boldfaced and known to most everyone.
THE BEST COMPARISON is to Emma Cline’s massively successful The Girls, also a novel with factual subcurrents that is very much of the sixties and about the youth born into its promises and confusions. For advance comments we’ll obviously appeal to her and comparable writers—whether of fiction, fact, or history—who are likewise drawn to this still-looming and endlessly fascinating period of our nation’s history.
“Deeply felt and often beautiful…Furst’s richly researched and detailed book gives us a vivid portrait of the Lower East Side in the ’60s and ’70s from the perspective of a radical milieu, but also from a child’s eye, street-level view…a chaotic, ramshackle place…Revolutionaries examines the [period] from every angle, orbiting the evidence and arguments…The novel’s ultimate beauty—like its characters’—is spiritual. It refuses to sanctify or condemn anyone.” — Greg Jackson, The New York Times Book Review
“Furst vividly depicts figures from the [the sixties and seventies]…[and Revolutionaries] knows…how to turn down the political and historical volume to let a reader see instead of just hear.” — Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker
“A masterpiece of narrative voice that wonders at the little regarded casualties of a life with a national profile.”—PJ Grisar, Forward
“Revolutionaries is overflowing, hyper, passionate, raunchy, forceful, and over the top—just like its subject, the fictitious sixties radical Lenny Snyder.”—Fran Hawthorne, New York Journal of Books
“A warts-and-all look at the 1960s counterculture through the eyes of Freedom “Fred” Snyder, the child of an Abbie Hoffman-like activist leader…. Furst upends our often nostalgic, peace-and-love view of the Sixties [and is] particularly adept at painting a visceral picture of Freedom’s surroundings, using the observational gifts of a child.”—Library Journal
“…rich material…Furst offers an honest look at what’s been won, and lost…[the novel] picks up steam as [Freedom] gains an increasingly realistic understanding of the cards he’s been dealt.” — Paul Wilner, Splice Today
“A grown-up child of the 1960s looks back in anger, seasoned with retroactive awe, at his mercurial father, a legendary activist and counterculture icon…. A haunting vision of post-‘60s malaise whose narrator somehow retains his humor, compassion, and even optimism in the wake of the most crushing disillusionment.”—Kirkus (starred)
“A heartfelt meditation on how quickly history outruns political and social ideals…. Furst’s novel and its themes will resonate with readers regardless of whether they lived through its time.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Revolutionaries is an express train of a novel, and through its windows we are offered an extraordinary view of America’s ruination. At once comic and tragic and domestic and panoramic, this a wonderful, masterful novel.”—Joseph O’Neill, author of The Dog and Netherland
“The best portrayal of the charismatic and kinetic politics of the 60s since American Pastoral. Joshua Furst has given us a kaleidoscopic and timely exploration of the personal and political costs of populism—on the left or the right.”—David Cole, national legal director, ACLU, and author of Engines of Liberty: How Citizen Movements Succeed
“A gorgeously written elegy for American subversion that will make you want to shout in the street, and a heartbreaking family story that’ll have you weeping as you do it.”—James Hannaham, author of Delicious Foods and God Says No
“A triumph of narration—sly, fierce, funny—and a brilliant take on one of America’s great insurrectionary moments. Freedom Snyder is a narrator to treasure, and Joshua Furst brings a beautiful mix of empathy, longing, scorn and a sense of tragic witness to this novel of politics and family love.”—Sam Lipsyte, author of Hark and The Ask
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