By Anthony Giardina
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374281441, 384pp.)
Publication Date: May 2, 2006
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After graduating from high school, in the early 1970s, Billy Mogavero is the only one of a tight-knit group of five friends who didn't make it out of Winship, a hardscrabble town outside of Boston. Twenty years later, the other four--who have made their way, to varying degrees--decide to return to Winship to visit Billy, once their galvanizing alpha male and now a paint salesman who lives at home with his mentally handicapped brother. Their reunion sparks a rapid-fire chain of events as Billy finally makes the social leap his friends have spent their lives making--to suburban respectability and conformity.
Enthralled by the rapidity of Billy's climb--his marriage to an equally ambitious and tough Irishwoman, Maureen, included--his best friend, Timmy O'Kane, sees in Billy's protean character and masterful adoption of middle-class norms a vital and necessary critique of his cozy existence--paid for by his wealthy wife--in a privileged Boston suburb. But when Billy, Maureen, and their unborn child are victims of a drive-by shooting in which only Billy survives, Timmy is ensnared in a series of events that threaten to spin entirely out of his control. His complicity in the aftermath of the tragedy threatens the hardwon security of his leafy, suburban idyll--but is also strangely and seductively liberating.
Inspired by actual events, Giardina has created a masterful and explosive social novel about the price of the American dream.
Anthony Giardina is the author of two previous novels and a short-story collection. He is a contributor to Harper’s, Esquire, GQ, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications. He lives in Massachusetts.