Friday, June 22, 2012

Blog Tour: An American Family by: Peter Lefcourt

I am participating in a blog tour. Please visit the blog tour:  here to find all the participants in this. Here is my exerpt from the book:

There was a beauty parlor in Westbury, ten minutes away, that was coming up for sale. The owner was moving to Florida and wanted to sell before the end of the year. If they got a second mortgage on their house, they could get the cash to make a quick offer and get the place cheap.

But they had to move fast, and Nathan didn’t like to move fast. He chewed everything over and over, the way he did his meat. Someone else was going to buy that place in Westbury soon if they didn’t make a move.

“I don’t know what he’s doing in Texas, anyway,” Vicky was saying. “No way they vote for him next year. Even with Lyndon on the ticket again.”

“That man gives me the creeps,” Lillian said, putting the emery board down and taking a cotton swab of astringent and beginning to dry the surface of the nails.

Guest Blog: How has your personal experience as a Jewish American influenced the book?
My experience growing up as a first-generation Polish American Jew in New York was the genesis of this book. I wanted to capture the emotional and psychological effects of the clash of the immigrant Jewish culture with the adopted American one. I was not interested so much in telling my story personally – this book is not an autobiographical novel – but the story of all immigrant cultures, Italian, Irish, African-American, Vietnamese, as well as Jewish. My father came to New York from a shtetl village in Poland in 1922 not knowing a word of English and became a lawyer; I grew up playing stickball on the streets of Queens and became a writer; my son grew up in Los Angeles, went to Yale and became a humanitarian worker who at the moment is in Kyrgyzstan. This evolution, over merely three generations, fascinates me. Our life experiences have been so different, and yet there is an identity linking us together.

I wanted to set this story against the enormous social changes that took place in the second half of the twentieth century: the cultural rift created by the Vietnam War, the rise of feminism, gay identity, the pervasive influence of music. And to show how my characters navigated these changes. I created the fictitious family, the Perls, and decided to tell the story through the shifting point of view of five siblings, all, like me, born in the 1940’s. I chose the two iconic dates of this period – November 22, 1963 and September 11, 2001 – as a parenthesis to enclose the era.

I was interested in the evolution of the family through all these changes – how it adapts to the most dramatic and sweeping changes and still survives as the emotional focus of our lives. I disagree with Tolstoy: all happy families are not alike.

A Novel
By Peter Lefcourt
Amazon e-book; May 1, 2012
$3.99; 355 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4675-2353-0

Next blog on tour here: June 23  “He’s got these big ears, and big hands. I bet you he’s a groper…”

(disclosure: I received a copy of book for this post)

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