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America Was Hard to Find

Kathleen Alcott

5 Reviews

Rated 0

Vietnam War fiction

An astronaut who will go on to be the first man to walk on the moon. A child of privilege who has run away to work in a pilots' bar in the Mojave Desert. A love affair that interacts with three of the twentieth century's most iconic moments: the race to space, the rage against the Vietnam War, and the ravages of the AIDS epidemic.

Mojave Desert, 1957.

Vincent Kahn is an astronaut in training, living with his wife in the desert. He will go on to be the first man to walk on the moon.

Fay Fern is 19-years-old and working in a dive bar, having rejected her parents' wealth and conservatism. She will go on to become a violent activist and one of the FBI's most wanted.

The pair's brief but intense love affair will have repercussions that echo through the American century, intersecting with the race to space, the rage against the Vietnam war, and the ravages of the AIDS epidemic.

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Praise for America Was Hard to Find

  • Alcott is an impressionistic stylist capable of lovely, luminous effects on the brushstroke level of the sentence ... Alcott is at her best in zero gravity. - Wall Street Journal

  • A marvel of compression and controlled description ... Fay's ambition, at the start of America Was Hard to Find, is to make life 'happen more deeply inside her.' Alcott's novel is a finely calibrated machine that does the same for us. - BookForum

  • [Alcott's] prose has a way of finding the cinematic in the personal .... Alcott's narration is penetrating and elegant, but she gives her characters some of the wittiest and most screen-ready dialogue in contemporary fiction. - Paris Review

  • Like Franzen or DeLillo, Alcott brings awe-inspiring exactitude and lyricism to her dive into three of America's most iconic moments.... In her exquisite and poignant reimagining of historic events, Alcott dissects their impacts in a sweeping yet intimate saga that challenges assumptions and assesses the depths of human frustration. - Booklist

  • Absorbing ... Ambitious ... Shimmering, knife-sharp descriptions of small and often devastating moments of individual experience within those larger histories ... The reader experiences the era's social upheavals and contests of values at their most intimate register. - New York Times Book Review

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Kathleen Alcott

Born in 1988 in Northern California, Kathleen Alcott is the author of the novels Infinite Home and The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets. Born and raised in Northern California, Kathleen Alcott presently resides in Brooklyn. Her short fiction, criticism, and essays have appeared in The New York Times, the Guardian, The New Yorker online and elsewhere. In 2017, her short story "Reputation Management" was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award. A fellow of the MacDowell Colony, she has taught at Columbia University at Bennington College.

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