Revolutionaries: A novel (Hardcover)
In his second novel, the acclaimed author of The Sabotage Café leads us on a long, strange trip through the heart of the sixties and beyond, as seen through the eyes of the revolution's poster child.
Fred is the sole offspring of Lenny Snyder, the famous (or notorious) pied piper of the counterculture, and in middle age he hates being reminded of it. But neither can he ignore any longer his psychedelically bizarre childhood. From infancy, for instance, he was called Freedom (in fact his given name) not only by those who should have known him but also by members of the burgeoning movement led by his father, who happily exploited having his wife and his toddling, then walking and talking, and finally observant son in tow. Thanks to Fred, this charismatic, brilliant, volatile ringmaster is as captivating in these pages as he was to his devoted disciples back then. We watch Lenny organize hippies and intellectuals, stage magnificent stunts, and gradually lose his magnetic confidence and leading role as the sixties start slipping away. He demands loyalty but gives none back in return, a man who preaches love but treats his family with almost reflexive cruelty. And Fred remembers all of it--the chaos, the spite, the affection. A kaleidoscopic saga, this novel is at once a profound allegory for America--where we've been and where we're going--and a deeply intimate portrait of a father and son who define our times.
About the Author
JOSHUA FURST is the author of Short People and The Sabotage Café, as well as several plays that have been produced in New York, where for a number of years he taught in the public schools. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he's the recipient of a Michener Fellowship, the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Award, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Ledig House. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.
"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