cover image Fall Out of Heaven: An Autobiographical Journey

Fall Out of Heaven: An Autobiographical Journey

Alan Cheuse / Author G.M. Smith $18.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-87905

Cheuse's father, a noted Bolshevik combat pilot, defected from the Soviet Union after his plane crashed and he was given an honorable discharge. Growing up in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the author saw his immigrant father, Philip, as a fallen hero, a sour-faced oppressor and a dreamer whose job in an auto assembly plant had crushed him. Novelist Cheuse (The Bohemians took his own son Josh to the Soviet Union in 1986 to trace their family roots. He wrote this memoir to exorcise the ghosts of his unhappy childhood, to come to terms with his father, to forge a link between the generations. His novelistic gifts for atmosphere and drama are impressive, yet the book, an act of therapy for its author, never really gels. His father's unpublished autobiography, reshaped by the novelist, is interwoven with the narrative. It makes for resonant contrasts as Alan and Josh roll into the Finland Station, tour Moscow and fly over routes Philip had once taken. (September 1)