Nothing but a Smile

Steve Amick, Author . Pantheon $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-307-37736-4

Amick’s solid follow-up to The Lake, the River & the Other Lake gives the reader a remarkable portrait of postwar America. When Wink Dutton is discharged from the army in 1944, he has little to his name besides his Purple Heart. His prospects change unexpectedly, however, when he meets Sal Chesterton, who has been running her family’s camera shop while her husband serves in the Pacific. With business struggling, Sal comes up with a plan: she shoots sexy self-portraits and sells them to girlie magazines. As Sal and Wink’s friendship develops, she lets him in on the venture, and the pinup business keeps them afloat and provides an easy segue to a complex romance after Sal’s husband is killed in combat. The backdrop is captivating in its detail, and bold in scope: Sal and Wink’s story plays out against wartime struggles, the Chicago underworld of the ’40s and ’50s, HUAC and the Red Scare and the postwar migration of Americans from the cities to the suburbs. This divine love story is as much about Sal and Wink as it is about America in that era—a great story, well told. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/05/2009
Release date: 03/01/2009
Open Ebook - 239 pages - 978-0-307-37805-7
Hardcover - 477 pages - 978-1-4104-1795-4
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-307-39019-6
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