A Good American

By Alex George
(Berkley Trade, Paperback, 9780425253175, 432pp.)

Publication Date: February 5, 2013

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Hardcover, Compact Disc

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the February 2012 Indie Next List
“In these crazy, sad times, when fear and greed seem to be defining our responses, it was wonderful to be reminded of the irreplaceable role immigration has played in making our country great and of the various ways of being 'a good American.' Frederick and Jette flee Prussia in 1904 and make their new home in Missouri. Their story is told by their grandson, James, and like the best family stories, is filled with the coincidences, missed connections, and both the tragedy and magic of ordinary life. George breaks your heart with the quiet sacrifices and secrets of his characters but never forgets the wonder and humor of living. Carrying the reader across the generations with music and food, religion and prohibition, racism and patriotism, A Good American makes this unique family's story seem familiar in the best of ways.”
-- Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL


Description

A LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A BOOKPAGE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

Everything he’d seen had been unimaginably different from the dry, dour streets of home, and to his surprise he was not sorry in the slightest. He was smitten by the beguiling otherness of it all.
  And so began my grandfather’s rapturous love affair with America—an affair that would continue until the day he died.   This is the story of the Meisenheimer family, told by James, a third-generation American living in Beatrice, Missouri. It’s where his German grandparents—Frederick and Jette—found themselves after journeying across the turbulent Atlantic, fording the flood-swollen Mississippi, and being brought to a sudden halt by the broken water of the pregnant Jette.    A Good American tells of Jette’s dogged determination to feed a town sauerkraut and soul food; the loves and losses of her children, Joseph and Rosa; and the precocious voices of James and his brothers, sometimes raised in discord…sometimes in perfect harmony.    But above all, A Good American is about the music in Frederick’s heart, a song that began as an aria, was jazzed by ragtime, and became an anthem of love for his adopted country that the family still hears to this day.




About the Author

Alex George is an Englishman who lives, works, and writes in the middle of America. He studied law at Oxford University and worked for eight years as a corporate lawyer in London and Paris before moving to the United States in 2003.




Praise For A Good American

“There’s plenty of storytelling charm on display here, with echoes of John Irving’s humane zaniness.”—The New York Times Book Review

"As epic as an opera, as intimate as a lullaby, A Good American swept me through an entire century of triumph and tragedy with the wonderful Meisenheimer family...Alex George has created that rare and beautiful thing—a novel I finished and immediately wanted to start again."—Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters
“A sweeping, lush intergenerational novel about a family…learning to live in twentieth-century America.”—O, The Oprah Magazine “This lush, epic tale of one family’s journey from immigrants to good Americans had me alternately laughing and crying, but always riveted. It’s a rich, rare treat of a book, and Alex George is a first-rate talent.” —Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House “Richly drawn, tragic, yet laced with humor…remarkable.” —Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt  

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