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William Kennedy masterfully gathers together an unlikely cast of vivid characters in a breathtaking adventure full of music, mysticism, and murder: a homeless black alcoholic, a radical Catholic priest, a senile parent, a terminally ill jazz legend, the imperious mayor of Albany, Bing Crosby, Hemingway, Castro, and a ragtag ensemble of radicals, prostitutes, provocateurs, and underworld heavies. This is an unforgettably riotous story of revolution, romance, and redemption, set against the landscape of the civil rights movement as it challenges the legendary and vengeful Albany political machine.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Michael on 11-29-17
Departure from Albany
This was listed as part of Kennedy's Albany Series, but it has a substantially different tone and style and is only weakly linked to the other novels in the series. It seems to change tone and style as it transitions between Cuba and Albany. The Cuba section seems to either be an nod to Hemingway or just strongly influenced by Hemingway's style. I found this a bit derivative.
In the Cuba section the Hemingway character points out novels should avoid politics, for in a few years readers will want to skip the political writing...yet Kennedy ignores this (fictional and perhaps self referential) advice and plows on, mixing politics into the novel (which did become a bit tedious).
This was very late Kennedy and is the only of his books I did not really love. It was not bad, but it lacked the lightness and magic that permeated the other Albany books. In the other Albany books the story is weak but the characters are transcendent. Here the story is still weak (and a bit jumpy) and the characters are kind of run-of-the-mill.
The author's narration is OK, but not great. The narration is clear and understandable. The characterizations are weak and narration errors were just ignored. This was a reading and lacked the performance aspects of a professioinal narrator.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Denise Declue on 10-17-11
I loved this book. Reading could have been better--but great enough. Kennedy wrote it after all. A beautiful job of putting two kind-of-like things (the Cuban revolutions & Albany NY street "riots") together--the whole becoming more understandable than the sums of its parts. It also helped me understand Chicago 1968 better than ever. I almost forgot how delightful musical writing can be.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful