Hunting Mister Heartbreak: A Discovery of America

Jonathan Raban, Author Edward Burlingame Books $25 (372p) ISBN 978-0-06-018209-0
By ship from Liverpool, British writer Raban ( Old Glory ) arrived in New York, ``a city in a round-the-clock state of emergency,'' to begin his quest for the real America. In Alabama he found ``Calvinist'' values of godliness, hearth and home, and resistance to change ``riding higher than at any time since the Civil War.'' Sated on ``Christ-haunted'' cookouts and family suppers, he flew to ``impressively tolerant'' Seattle, where only intruding Californians were discriminated against, and was struck by the zeal and energy of Korean immigrants. In Seattle he adopted an alter ego, ``Rainbird,'' that of a settled-in novelist, and in the Florida Keys he impersonated a floating outlaw in Miami Vice style. This distancing device lets him step back to assess the potential and heartbreak of a country where an ache for transcendence is channeled into TV, fashion, star-worship, the lottery and escapist fantasy. Wonderfully observant, often hilarious, the book is written in almost sensual prose with the astonished integrity of a visitor who dropped in from another planet. 50,000 first printing; author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Hardcover - 428 pages - 978-0-00-272031-1
Hardcover - 658 pages - 978-1-56054-224-7
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-375-70101-6
Hardcover - 978-0-517-09874-5
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-06-098107-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 271 pages - 978-0-307-79163-4
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