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CRITICALLY LAUDED CONNECTED NOVELS: Feast Day of the Cannibals is the sixth installment in Lock’s American Novels series. Rave reviews for books in the series have appeared on NPR and in print and online outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, and BuzzFeed, and the novels have garnered numerous starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, and Foreword Reviews. Although each novel stands alone, fans of the cycle will enjoy discovering the subtle connections between them and the way Lock pays homage to major American literary figures and genres: first with Mark Twain and the coming-of-age adventure story in The Boy in His Winter; then with Walt Whitman and the Western in American Meteor; Edgar Allan Poe and the gothic psychological thriller in The Port-Wine Stain; Henry David Thoreau and other famous transcendentalists and abolitionists in a marriage of slave narrative and pastoral drama in A Fugitive in Walden Woods; Emily Dickinson in a lyrical lament of love and innocence lost in The Wreckage of Eden; and now with Feast Day of the Cannibals, featuring Herman Melville and Washington Roebling in a dark tale of ambition and the secrets of the heart.CAST OF HISTORIC CHARACTERS: Many readers and reviewers have lauded Lock for, as Booklist put it, his “uncanny ability to inhabit historical figures and meticulously capture the vernacular of the time like a transcendentalist ventriloquist.” In addition to Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain), Thomas Edison, Ulysses S. Grant, and Washington Roebling (chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge), the novel prominently features Herman Melville. Moby-Dick, Melville’s classic novel that was forgotten in his own time, continues to sell thousands of copies every year, topping syllabuses and best-books lists alike. In Feast Day of the Cannibals, Lock explores themes in Melville’s work and the America of his time, retracing Melville’s epic sea story of enmity and resetting it in the depths of Manhattan, where the author lived and worked. Melville’s enduring fans will find it fascinating to be plunged into his world as Lock skillfully conjures up the vivacious, embittered author.BIG THEMES/BIG QUESTIONS: Feast Day of the Cannibals is topical in its consideration of the persistence of American intolerance, the audacity of the nation’s ambition, the crimes committed in the name of capitalism, the immense labor of its artists and builders, and the fears of a nation facing a profound turning point. Offering a view of the lower depths and inner workings of its greatest city, the novel also affirms the higher possibilities of a human being. As Lock interrogates both the darkness and tremendous achievements he discovers at our nation’s heart, his tale of homophobia and economic anxiety in the Gilded Age reminds us that we are still wrestling with the same issues as we enter a new Gilded Age.
Acerca de Norman Lock
Norman Lock is the award-winning author of novels, short fiction, and poetry, as well as stage, radio, and screenplays. He has won The Dactyl Foundation Literary Fiction Award, The Paris Review Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, and writing fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.Lock’s recent works of fiction include the short story collection Love Among the Particles, a Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year, and three books in The American Novels series: The Boy in His Winter, a re-envisioning of Mark Twain’s classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that Scott Simon of NPR’s Weekend Edition hailed for make[ing] Huck and Jim so real you expect to get messages from them on your iPhone;” American Meteor, an homage to Walt Whitman and William Henry Jackson named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and The Port-Wine Stain, an homage to Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Dent Mütter (forthcoming in 2016). Lock lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey.
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