From a distinguished chronicler of American social history and political culture, An Unfinished Season captures the postwar moment of the 1950s when the modern world lay just over the horizon. In a time of rabid anticommunism, worker unrest, and government corruption, even the small-town family could not escape the nationwide suspicion and dread of "the enemy within". In rural Quarterday, on the margins of Chicago's North Shore, 19-year-old Wilson Ravan watches as his father's life unravels. Teddy Ravan, gruff, unapproachable, and secure in his knowledge of the world, is confronting a strike and even death threats from union members who work at his printing business. Wilson, in the summer before college, finds himself straddling three worlds when he takes a job at a newspaper: the newsroom where working-class reporters find class struggle at the heart of every issue; the glittering North Shore debutante parties where he spends his nights; and the growing cold war between his parents at home. These worlds collide when he falls in love with the willful daughter of a renowned psychiatrist with a frightful past in World War II. Tragedy strikes her family, and the revelation of secrets calls into question everything Wilson once believed.
"Crisp and intelligent, animated by dry humor and by a realism that is too humane to be cynical. This novel, with its resonant questions about the class divisions that most Americans refuse to acknowledge, is one of [Just's] most trenchant works to date." (Publishers Weekly)
"Emotionally freighted, witty and sophisticated, and powerfully evocative of both the time (the early 1950s) and the place (Chicago) in which it is set....A beautiful, wise book." (The Washington Post's Book World)
"Just masterfully evokes the bittersweet beauty of city and suburb, the immensity of solitude, the fortitude life requires, and death's ever-present shadow." (Booklist)
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Superb novel - nicely read
- Everett Leiter