112th: Margaret Vandenburg's "The Home Front"
Join us on Monday, March 30th, at 7pm for the launch of Margaret Vandenburg's The Home Front.
About the book:
The Barrons like to think of themselves as a typical American family. Never mind the fact that Todd drops bombs on Afghan targets one minute and sits down to dinner with his wife and kids the next. A drone pilot stationed in Nevada, he manages to compartmentalize the conflicting demands of combat and family life until their son Max is diagnosed with Autism.
His wife Rose deploys an army of specialists, surfing the outer limits of the Web for a miracle cure. Meanwhile, Max clings to compulsive isolation and order - wearing the same tan clothes, eating the same round foods, lining up trucks or Legos or whatever else needs to be lined up - to fend off the chaos of normalcy.
Unhinged by their son's prognosis, Rose resorts to New Age magical thinking to cope with her own sense of losing control. Todd feels curiously indifferent, watching his wife and son retreat further and further into la-la land. It's a familiar feeling, symptomatic of his Chair Force job waging virtual war. The Barrons continue to drift apart until a gifted behavioral therapist intervenes, reviving the dream of discovering a common language.
The Home Front is both deeply personal and culturally relevant, a family portrait of the uncanny connection between autism, drone warfare, and virtual reality. Without a real diagnosis of the problem, the prognosis isn't good.
Margaret Vandenburg has published works in a wide range of genres, including historical fiction, creative nonfiction, and literary criticism. She also wrote the libretto for Ada, which was most recently presented by the Center for Contemporary Opera. Having completed her Ph.D. at Columbia University, she traveled across Broadway to Barnard College, where she is a Senior Lecturer in English. Her Iraq War novel, Weapons of Mass Destruction, is forthcoming from The Permanent Press (October 2015).