Publication Date: October 24, 2023
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An American Master returns: The author of The Things They Carried delivers his first new novel in two decades, a brilliant and rollicking odyssey, in which a bank robbery by a disgraced journalist sparks a cross-country chase through a nation corroded by delusion.
At 11:34 a.m. one Saturday in August 2019, Boyd Halverson strode from his battered Buick LeSabre and entered Community National Bank in northern California.“How much is on hand, would you say?” he asked the teller. “I’ll want it all.”“You’re robbing me?”He revealed a Temptation .38 Special.Angie Bing collected $81,000.Boyd stuffed the cash into a paper grocery bag. “I’m sorry about this,” he said, “but I’ll have to ask you to take a ride with me. …”So begins the adventure of Boyd Halverson—star journalist turned notorious online disinformation troll turned JC Penney manager—and his irrepressible hostage, Angie Bing. Haunted by his past and weary of his present, Boyd has one goal before the authorities catch up with him: settle a score with the man who destroyed his life. By Monday the pair had reached Mexico; by Winter, they were in a lakefront mansion in Minnesota. On their trail are hitmen, jealous lovers, ex-cons, an heiress, a billionaire shipping tycoon, a three-tour veteran of Iraq, and the ghosts of Boyd’s past. Everyone, it seems, except the police. America Fantastica marks the triumphant return of an essential voice in American letters. Just as O’Brien’s modern classic, The Things They Carried, so brilliantly reflected the unromantic truth of war, America Fantastica puts a mirror to a nation and a time that has become dangerously unmoored from truth and greedy for delusion.
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