Banana Republican

Eric Rauchway, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $25 (237p) ISBN 978-0-374-29894-4

In his unfortunate fiction debut, historian Rauchway (Blessed Among Nations: How the World Made America ) imagines that Tom Buchanan, Daisy's loutish, unpleasant husband from The Great Gatsby , has written a memoir. For 30 pages, this is inspired: the famous lantern at the end of the dock dangles “like a broken wine bottle in a drunk's loose grip,” Daisy has grown pudgy, and the passage of time has tempered Tom's inherent unpleasantness with rueful humor. But then, in a bewildering shift, Tom decamps to Central America and becomes a key player in the United States' official and unofficial interventions in Nicaragua's turbulent politics circa 1925–1927. Tom goes everywhere and meets everyone (in the span of 20 pages, he runs guns for the rebels and goes on missions for the State Department's Bureau of Secret Intelligence) with an increasing sense of tedium and implausibility. As he seeks to protect family business interests, his conservative stances and racist attitudes become a one-note joke that quickly sours. Given the cleverness of the first two chapters, the unrelenting dreadfulness of the remainder of the book is bewildering. (July)

Reviewed on: 03/15/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4299-3311-7
Paperback - 237 pages - 978-0-312-57300-3
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