Friday, February 14, 2014

Jerome Charyn's I Am Abraham -- Review and {Giveaway}


My thoughts
Jerome Charyn can always be counted on to put forth an interesting and entertaining work of historical fiction. Like its predecessors, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson and Johnny One-Eye, Charyn takes a novel told in first person to a whole new level. His first person point of view makes the reader feel as if they are the character...seeing and experiencing everything vicariously.

Abraham Lincoln is a historical figure that I have always greatly admired. In I Am Abraham, the man comes to life. He is not just the illusive and enigmatic figure of history, but a real, flesh-and-blood man with the same fears, worries and loves as other human beings. His stoic nature is ever present and yet he speaks with a sense of irony, seeing situations with an eye for the comedy amidst the ordinary and even tragic.

I am a fan of Jerome Charyn and always look forward to his latest work. His is a unique and important voice in the historical fiction genre. If you have not read his books, you're missing out. I Am Abraham would be a good one with which to start.


About the book
Narrated in Lincoln’s own voice, the tragicomic I Am Abraham promises to be the masterwork of Jerome Charyn’s remarkable career.

Since publishing his first novel in 1964, Jerome Charyn has established himself as one of the most inventive and prolific literary chroniclers of the American landscape. Here in I Am Abraham, Charyn returns with an unforgettable portrait of Lincoln and the Civil War. Narrated boldly in the first person, I Am Abraham effortlessly mixes humor with Shakespearean-like tragedy, in the process creating an achingly human portrait of our sixteenth President.

Tracing the historic arc of Lincoln's life from his picaresque days as a gangly young lawyer in Sangamon County, Illinois, through his improbable marriage to Kentucky belle Mary Todd, to his 1865 visit to war-shattered Richmond only days before his assassination, I Am Abraham hews closely to the familiar Lincoln saga. Charyn seamlessly braids historical figures such as Mrs. Keckley—the former slave, who became the First Lady's dressmaker and confidante—and the swaggering and almost treasonous General McClellan with a parade of fictional extras: wise-cracking knaves, conniving hangers-on, speculators, scheming Senators, and even patriotic whores.

We encounter the renegade Rebel soldiers who flanked the District in tattered uniforms and cardboard shoes, living in a no-man's-land between North and South; as well as the Northern deserters, young men all, with sunken, hollowed faces, sitting in the punishing sun, waiting for their rendezvous with the firing squad; and the black recruits, whom Lincoln’s own generals wanted to discard, but who play a pivotal role in winning the Civil War. At the center of this grand pageant is always Lincoln himself, clad in a green shawl, pacing the White House halls in the darkest hours of America’s bloodiest war.

Using biblically cadenced prose, cornpone nineteenth-century humor, and Lincoln’s own letters and speeches, Charyn concocts a profoundly moral but troubled commander in chief, whose relationship with his Ophelia-like wife and sons—Robert, Willie, and Tad—is explored with penetrating psychological insight and the utmost compassion. Seized by melancholy and imbued with an unfaltering sense of human worth, Charyn’s President Lincoln comes to vibrant, three-dimensional life in a haunting portrait we have rarely seen in historical fiction.

Prices/Formats: $12.99-$14.99 ebook, $26.95 hardcover
Pages: 464
Publisher: Liveright
Release: February 3, 2014

Kindle buy link ($12.99):
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DX5X80S?tag=tributebooks-20

Nook buy link ($14.99):
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-am-abraham-jerome-charyn/1115449611?ean=9780871404275

Amazon hardcover buy link ($26.95):
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0871404273?tag=tributebooks-20

Barnes and Noble hardcover buy link ($26.95):
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-am-abraham-jerome-charyn/1115449611?ean=9780871404275


About the author
Jerome Charyn 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.

Jerome Charyn's Web Site:
http://www.jeromecharyn.com/

Jerome Charyn's Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/jerome.charyn?fref=ts

I Am Abraham Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IAmAbrahamNovel

Jerome Charyn's Twitter:
http://twitter.com/jeromecharyn

I Am Abraham Twitter:
http://twitter.com/NewLincolnNovel

Jerome Charyn's Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/53408.Jerome_Charyn

I Am Abraham Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17987663-i-am-abraham

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186


I Am Abraham blog tour site:
http://iamabrahamblogtour.blogspot.com/



This tour is conjunction with Tribute Books Blog Tours

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.

Clicking the link below will take you to the rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway of $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash! 

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2 comments:

I apologize for word verification, but I turned it off and had close to 50 spam comments within 12 hours (nobody has time for that) so I had to turn it back on. Sorry!

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  1. Michelle, I know you're a historical fiction buff, so thanks for the high praise of Jerome's latest novel. I'm glad you liked his first person account of Lincoln the man, as well as Lincoln the president. Happy Valentine's Day :)

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  2. I am looking forward to reading I Am Lincoln. Thanks for this opportunity. I haven't read anything by Jerome before but I know I'll enjoy this just based on the fact that it's about Lincoln and the reviews so far.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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