"A desperate masterpiece of a debut" that tells a huge-hearted American saga—of love, violence, war, conspiracy and the aftermath of them all." —Bonnie Jo Campbell
"Nicorvo’s muscular and energetic prose will stun readers with its poignancy, while providing a punch to the solar plexus." —Booklist (Starred Review)
"A dash of Coetzee, a dram of Delillo, but mostly just the complicated compassion of Jay Nicorvo. The Standard Grand is a brutally beautiful novel." —Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted
"It seems possible that Nicorvo has ingested all the darkness of this life and now breathes fire.” Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
When an Army trucker goes AWOL before her third deployment, she ends up sleeping in Central Park. There, she meets a Vietnam vet and widower who inherited a tumbledown Borscht Belt resort. Converted into a halfway house for homeless veterans, the Standard—and its two thousand acres over the Marcellus Shale Formation—is coveted by a Houston-based multinational company. Toward what end, only a corporate executive knows.
With three violent acts at its center—a mauling, a shooting, a mysterious death decades in the past—and set largely in the Catskills, The Standard Grand spans an epic year in the lives of its diverse cast: a female veteran protagonist, a Mesoamerican lesbian landman, a mercenary security contractor keeping secrets and seeking answers, a conspiratorial gang of combat vets fighting to get peaceably by, and a cougar—along with appearances by Sammy Davis, Jr. and Senator Al Franken. All of the characters—soldiers, civilians—struggle to discover that what matters most is not that they’ve caused no harm, but how they make amends for the harm they’ve caused.
Jay Baron Nicorvo's The Standard Grand confronts a glaring cultural omission: the absence of women in our war stories. Like the best of its characters—who aspire more to goodness than greatness—this American novel hopes to darn a hole or two in the frayed national fabric.
Big Walt Michalski is a decorated World War II veteran who built a plumbing empire in his hometown only to have his drunk, Vietnam-vet son, Walt, fritter away his inheritance, and the family business, on drugs and a series of dead-end marriages. Tom Jane, Walt's nephew and Big Walt's grandson, is a thirty-year-old career marine just out of the service with a dishonorable discharge. When Walt lets the memories of his failed life get the better of him, he takes off, intent on finding again the one place he ever felt free: outside the disappointed glare of Big Walt. But when he gets where he's going, he finds himself all too easily drawn back into a harrowing situation in which the life he's running from may turn out to be his only chance for salvation.
Daniel Buckman memorializes a lost class of American men who go to war and come home to work, men who exist on the fringes of the society they once risked their lives to protect. Haunting and startling, Morning Dark is a remarkable literary achievement from a talented young writer.
The Illuminations, the fifth novel from Andrew O'Hagan, a writer "of astonishingly assured gifts" (The New York Times Book Review), is a work of deeply charged beauty--and one that demonstrates, with poignancy and power, that no matter how we look at it, there is no such thing as an ordinary life.
Anne Quirk's life is built on stories--the lies she was told by the man she loved and the fictions she told herself to survive. Nobody remembers Anne now, but in her youth she was an artistic pioneer, a creator of groundbreaking documentary photographs. Her beloved grandson Luke, a captain with the Royal West Fusiliers in the British army, has inherited her habit of transforming reality. When his mission in Afghanistan goes horribly wrong, he returns to Scotland, where the secrets that have shaped his family begin to emerge. He and Anne set out to confront a mystery from her past among the Blackpool Illuminations--the dazzling lights that brighten the seaside town as the season turns to winter.
It is a time of political turmoil once more as the fading King Edward begins to lose control over his successors and their supporters. There are two potential heirs—possibly more—and doubt over whether the once separate states of Wessex and Mercia will hold together . Despite attempts at pulling him into the political fray, Uhtred of Bebbanburg cares solely about his beloved Northumbria and its continuing independence from southern control.
But an oath is a strong, almost sacred commitment and such a promise had been exchanged between Uhtred and Aethelstan, his onetime companion in arms and now a potential king. Uhtred was tempted to ignore the demands of the oath and stay in his northern fastness, leaving the quarrelling Anglo-Saxons to sort out their own issues. But an attack on him by a leading supporter of one of the candidates and an unexpected appeal for help from another, drives Uhtred with a small band of warriors south, into the battle for kingship—and England’s fate.