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Stephen Amidon:
The New City
Stephen Amidon
  The New City  
Stephen Amidon    
notebook

an excerpt



  Stephen Amidon has written the book that hadn't existed, but needed to: a great social novel of suburbia. From Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis to Russell Banks and Richard Ford, some of America's best writers have created lasting, powerful art from American contradictions and longings, and Stephen Amidon enters their company with this masterful novel.

Set in a planned community in Maryland in 1973, and depicted with the seamless seventies detail of Rick Moody's The Ice Storm, The New City plunges the reader deep into the racial and class conflicts that traveled with us on our urban exodus to the shining new suburbs. Circumstances will pit two families--one white, one black, and at one time the closest of friends--against each other in a wrenching primal fashion. The fraying of that dream of suburban romanticism will alter the lives of three people and their families: Austin Swope, the white lawyer who put Newton together on paper; Earl Wooten, the black contractor who raised Newton up from the ground; and Susan Truax, the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, who must sell houses to prospective buyers. Step by step, the hopes and dreams, the best intentions, and the entirely human failings of these characters combine to create a misunderstanding that escalates into a crisis and culminates in tragedy. Not since J. Anthony Lukas' Common Ground have the racial dilemmas of American life been more hauntingly laid out--a testimony to Stephen Amidon's vivid literary vision of America.

The New City is the real thing: a novel that takes the intimate particulars of the way we live and transforms them into the stuff of tragic literature. You leave it shaken by the knowledge that our best impulses reside frighteningly close to our worst. You may not be the same person after you read The New City, it can change you in the way only the best fiction can.

Stephen Amidon is the author of four previous works of fiction, including Subdivision, Thirst, and The Primitive. An American who lived and worked in London for fifteen years as a journalist, editor, and reviewer, he has recently moved back to Massachusetts, with his wife and children.

In this issue of Bold Type read an excerpt from The New City as well as an author notebook from Stephen Amidon.
 
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  Photo of Stephen Amidon copyright © Caryl Casson

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