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.
"Tony Giardina has taken front page news and transformed it into a chilling inquiry into the limits of friendship and the eternal conflict between passion and reason. His style blends the toughness of Chandler with the elegance of Fitzgerald in a quintessentially American brew. White Guys is an intoxicating novel, shrewd, shocking and irrestible." --Valerie Martin, author of MARY REILLY
"White Guys is the kind of book that can be read in a day but will linger in your thoughts for months. It is so quietly riveting, so deeply reflective, that it adds new resonance to the term 'mystery novel.' The crime in this book reaches deep into the cores of its characters and into the world they—and we—inhabit: a society defined by invisible boundaries of class and haunted by unspoken dreams. "
--Stephen Harrigan, author of CHALLENGER PARK
"White Guys is an extraordinarily potent novel. It engages us, passionately, in questions that matter -- what it means to be a man, to be a son, a husband and father; to watch, with hope and despair, the changing of small towns into copycat suburbs. It works its finely nuanced way through race, politics, work – and underneath all of it, the challenges of class run like a stony rift forever separating friend from friend, family, neighbors, and, finally, estranging self from self. I can’t remember when I’ve read a novel as gripping and as true." --Rosellen Brown, author of BEFORE AND AFTER
"One might be tempted to call Anthony Giardina America’s best kept literary secret, but there is nothing secret about this much talent. He knows so much about human beings and doings it is almost terrifying, and always thrilling. Thoughtful but never ponderous, gripping without any gimmicks, and beautifully written while never succumbing to preciousness, WHITE GUYS is the finest novel yet from one of our premiere writers of fiction." --Tom Bissell, author of GOD LIVES IN ST. PETERSBURG AND OTHER STORIES
Praise for Recent History:
"Haunting . . . Emotionally riveting, reminding us of the importance of accepting love in whatever form it presents itself." --Entertainment Weekly
"Graceful . . . [Giardina] manages to handle an enormous amount of emotional material with a light touch. . . . [Luca's] struggle is urgent and real. Giardina makes us care, in the end, what happens to our hero." --The New York Times Book Review