John Stocking, aka Johnny One-Eye is an enigmatic character. Is he a loyalist or a rebel? Is he for the British or for America? Is he George Washington's son or not? None of these questions really get answered, but that's not really a problem in this novel. Charyn succeeds in bringing across the precarious nature of America during the Revolutionary War. The ins and outs of British occupied Manhattan are quite confusing. I found myself scratching my head several times wondering who was on whose side. We are introduced to famous characters such as George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and Alexander Hamilton and we are exposed to their characters and personalities from the point of view of Johnny One-Eye. Does his one eye give him a skewed view of the world? Sometimes it would seem so. Was George Washington hopelessly in love with a woman who would become a madam? Possibly true. Did Benedict Arnold turn traitor because his beautiful wife was intelligent and a British spy? That would seem true as well. All of these intrigues are portrayed nicely in the book and although they may not be altogether factual, one can't help but believe in their plausibility. I will warn you, this may not be a book to read if you have no interest in history. As a history buff myself, I found the book to be a refreshing look at the Revolutionary War.
Jerome Charyn's Bio:
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”
New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”
Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.
Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.
In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong."
Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.
My thanks to Nicole at Tribute Books for the opportunity to be a part of this tour.
Monthly Mix-Up Mania
Historical Fiction Challenge
Book was provided to me in conjunction with a book tour with the above. The opinion is mine and I was not monetarily compensated for giving it.