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American Subversive (2010)

by David Goodwillie

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13112177,413 (3.5)10
As the twenty-first century enters its second decade, foreign wars, the lingering recession, and a caustic political environment are taking their toll on Americans. But the party hasn't ended for Aidan Cole and his friends, a band of savvy, if cynical, New York journalists and bloggers who thrive at the intersection of media and celebrity. At wine-sodden dinner parties or in dimly lit downtown bars, their frenetic talk-of scoops and page views, sexual adventures, and trendy restaurants-continues unabated. Then, without warning, the specter of terrorism reenters their lives. A bomb rips through the deserted floor of a midtown office tower. Middle Eastern terrorists are immediately suspected. But four days later, with no arrests and a city on edge, an anonymous e-mail arrives in Aidan's in-box. Attached is the photograph of an attractive, young white woman, along with a chilling message: "This is Paige Roderick. She's the one responsible."So begins an extraordinary journey into the dark soul of modern America-from a back-to-the-land community in the Smoky Mountains to a Weather Underground-like bomb factory in Vermont; from Fishers Island, isolated getaway of the wealthy elite, to the hip lofts of Manhattan's Meatpacking District. American Subversive is David Goodwillie's sharp and penetrating take on the paranoia of our times-and its real, untold dangers. In examining the connection between our collective apathy and the roots of insurrection, Goodwillie has crafted an intoxicating story of two young Americans grasping for a foothold in a culture-and a country-that's crumbling around them.With this debut novel, Goodwillie announces himself as a major new voice in American fiction. Expertly written, relentlessly suspenseful, and bitingly funny, American Subversive is both an unnervingly realistic tale of domestic terrorism and a perfectly observed portrait of Manhattan in the digital age.… (more)
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» See also 10 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Well written, interesting. ( )
  usuallee | Oct 7, 2021 |
I think this book would be a good one to read after reading Philip Roth's American Pastoral. It is a post 911, post Obama story of modern left revolutionaries and the aftermath of their actions. I think it was well done and an interesting read. I would be curious to read these characters in a few years time. ( )
  HardcoverHearts | Mar 24, 2018 |
Well, this is definitely going on the list of books I would never read if I didn't have to. Some highlights:
1) multiple 1st person POV -- ugh. Just, ugh.
2) female characters are all props -- you wouldn't think this would be possible when one of the protagonists is female, but she manages to have absolutely no identity that doesn't derive from a man; it would be an impressive feat if it weren't so maddening.
3) plot makes NO LOGICAL SENSE -- especially the "romance" bits.
4) infodumps boring, tangential details, then glosses over things that might have been interesting.

Basically: I recommend this book to NO ONE EVER. The only good part was the title. ARGH. ( )
1 vote NeitherNora | Sep 7, 2013 |
political commentary overlayed with coming of age story

10.11
  aletheia21 | Oct 16, 2011 |
This book made me go "Wow, I never thought of things that way." Depending on circumstances that could be me or someone I know and I totally get it. Things aren't always what they seem. This is a fast paced thriller that makes you look at the label terrorist in a whole different context. ( )
  Alicemarie | Oct 1, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that a true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.- Che Guevara.

Americans learn only from catastrophe and not from experience.- Theodore Roosevelt
Dedication
For my brother, Douglas
First words
I am in hiding, someplace cold.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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As the twenty-first century enters its second decade, foreign wars, the lingering recession, and a caustic political environment are taking their toll on Americans. But the party hasn't ended for Aidan Cole and his friends, a band of savvy, if cynical, New York journalists and bloggers who thrive at the intersection of media and celebrity. At wine-sodden dinner parties or in dimly lit downtown bars, their frenetic talk-of scoops and page views, sexual adventures, and trendy restaurants-continues unabated. Then, without warning, the specter of terrorism reenters their lives. A bomb rips through the deserted floor of a midtown office tower. Middle Eastern terrorists are immediately suspected. But four days later, with no arrests and a city on edge, an anonymous e-mail arrives in Aidan's in-box. Attached is the photograph of an attractive, young white woman, along with a chilling message: "This is Paige Roderick. She's the one responsible."So begins an extraordinary journey into the dark soul of modern America-from a back-to-the-land community in the Smoky Mountains to a Weather Underground-like bomb factory in Vermont; from Fishers Island, isolated getaway of the wealthy elite, to the hip lofts of Manhattan's Meatpacking District. American Subversive is David Goodwillie's sharp and penetrating take on the paranoia of our times-and its real, untold dangers. In examining the connection between our collective apathy and the roots of insurrection, Goodwillie has crafted an intoxicating story of two young Americans grasping for a foothold in a culture-and a country-that's crumbling around them.With this debut novel, Goodwillie announces himself as a major new voice in American fiction. Expertly written, relentlessly suspenseful, and bitingly funny, American Subversive is both an unnervingly realistic tale of domestic terrorism and a perfectly observed portrait of Manhattan in the digital age.

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