On an unseasonably warm spring afternoon, a young neo-Nazi named Vincent
Nolan walks into the Manhattan office of World Brotherhood Watch, a human rights
foundation headed by a charismatic Holocaust survivor, Meyer Maslow. Vincent
announces that he wants to make a radical change in his life. But what is Maslow
to make of this rough-looking stranger who claims to have read Maslow's books,
who has Waffen-SS tattoos under his shirtsleeves, and who says that his mission
is to save guys like him from becoming guys like him?
As he gradually turns into the sort of person who might actually be able to
do that, Vincent also transforms those around him: Maslow, who fears that
heroism has become a desk job; Bonnie Kalen, the foundation's fund-raiser, a
divorced single mother and a devoted believer in Maslow's crusade against
intolerance and injustice; and Bonnie's teenage son, Danny, whose take on the
world around him is at once openhearted, sharp-eyed, and as fundamentally decent
as his mother's.
Masterfully plotted, darkly comic, A Changed Man illuminates the
everyday transactions in our lives, exposing what remains invisible in plain
sight in our drug-addled and media-driven culture. Remarkable for the author's
tender sympathy for her characters, A Changed Man poses the essential
questions: What constitutes a life worth living? Is it possible to change? What
does it mean to be a moral human being? The fearless intelligence, wit, and
humanity that inform this novel make it Francine Prose's most accomplished yet.
If you think you'd enjoy a 'comedy of manners' which fairly gently skewers the middle-classes then this might be one for you; but if you're anticipating a book that digs deep you might be disappointed. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Francine Prose is back with a powerful new novel about the possibility
of starting over.
This book has it all great characters, dark humor, a racing plot and
Los Angeles Times Book Review - Richard Eder
A novel of ideas, and provocative ones. Class--the dirty American
secret--is no secret to Prose.
[An] artfully structured novel . . . [with] a selection of showstopping
literary set pieces.
[A] brilliant new comic novel . . . Prose's sense of humor is as keen as
Library Journal - Jim Coan
Bonnie is well portrayed and lifelike, but Vincent is
not - he's more a construct than a character. As a result, the novel feels
sidetracked, and though any new work by the award-winning Prose will attract
readers, this one is frankly not all that interesting.
An edgy, riveting tale, one of Prose's most interesting.
From Booklist - Joanne Wilkinson
Starred review. Like novelist Richard
Russo, Prose uses humor to light up key social issues, to skewer smugness, and
to create characters whose flaws only add to their depth and richness. This may
well be Prose's best novel to date.
Starred review. Her lively skewering of a whole cross-section of society ensures that this tale hits comic high notes even as it probes serious issues.
Francine Prose is the author of about 20 books, including Blue Angel
(2000) which was a finalist for the National Book Award; she is considered one of
America's sharpest cultural satirists. She says "I really do love my
find them guilty of anything that I'm not guilty of myself."
She says she was inspired to write A Changed Man after seeing two skinheads
on the New York subway, all dressed up with jackboots and shaved heads, but
looking terrified - it was clear to her that they were out of their element,
which made her curious about what kind of people they were. Later she saw
a middle-aged man with hair growing over his tattoos, one of which looked like a
swastika and she thought 'this is my character, 10 years later.'
Information about American hate groups at the
League website, whose charter is to "secure justice and fair
treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair
discrimination against, and ridicule of,...
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