What Rough Beast?
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A Half Century of Public and Private Moral Ambivalence “The Thanksgiving Trilogy,” by Bill Broder, presents a portrait of the human and historical dilemmas in our country during the last fifty years. In three novels, Bill Broder follows a group of friends who left their blood families in the East and formed close relationships in the San Francisco Bay Area—a family formed in exile. The annual reunion of this “family” takes place at Thanksgiving dinners. The three books, each complete in itself, explore significant aspects of California: a vision of possibilities, a sense of exile and mobility, and a respect for the past—aspects that have contributed greatly to the development of American culture as a whole. In "What Rough Beast?," Book Three of The Thanksgiving Trilogy, Mickey O’Rourke, a fervently revolutionary young woman of the family’s third generation, travels to an Encounter with the Zapatista Peasants in the highland rain forests of Mexico. There she meets her Bolivian lover, who becomes the father of her son. She returns to Marin County to teach, to work at the Califia Institute, and to perform underground dissident work. By now the affectionate companions that had first gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving has become a troubled family, united and split by marriages, affairs, love and anger, political manipulation, conformity, and rebellion. When Mickey’s lover is arrested as a terrorist by Homeland Security, Mickey and the Califia Institute become targets of the U.S. security forces. At this time, Mickey faces the decision whether to flee the country with her son or to remain at home facing possible imprisonment. Praise for Bill Broder’s works: "The Sacred Hoop" is a wise and eloquent book, outlining through story the tragedy and triumph of human evolution. —Edward Abbey [In "The Sacred Hoop"] Bill Broder...is a master storyteller, whose graceful prose is so engrossing that readers will find themselves instantly absorbed in what is sure to become a classic.” —Pat Holt, The San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle In "Taking Care of Cleo"...Broder combines a storyteller’s delight in complicated predicaments with a painter’s eye for landscape and body language and a poet’s sense of place.” —Donna Seaman [In “A Prayer for the Departed”] Broder’s careful, eloquent meditations upon family life transform this account from a mere history or memoir to a celebration of, and tribute to, family life. . . .The book’s glance at history as a moving force and its examination of each decade allow readers to realize and experience history and the past. Broder not only shares his life and journey with readers, but allows them to touch and feel it. A tender, inquisitive book that will appeal to those from old and new worlds. -- Kirkus Indy Review
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