Hunting Mister Heartbreak: A Discovery of America

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9780060182090: Hunting Mister Heartbreak: A Discovery of America

A New York Times Notable Book

"In an era of jet tourism, [Jonathan Raban] remains a
traveler-adventurer in the tradition of  .  .  .  Robert Louis Stevenson."
--The New York Times Book Review

In 1782 an immigrant with the high-toned name J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur--"Heartbreak" in English--wrote a pioneering account of one European's transformation into an American. Some two hundred years later Jonathan Raban, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, arrived in Crèvecoeur's wake to see how America has paid off for succeeding generations of newcomers. The result is an exhilarating, often deliciously funny book that is at once a travelogue, a social history, and a love letter to the United States.
        In the course of Hunting Mr. Heartbreak, Raban passes for homeless in New York and tries to pass for a good ol' boy in Alabama (which entails "renting" an elderly black lab). He sees the Protestant work ethic perfected by Korean immigrants in Seattle--one of whom celebrates her new home as "So big! So green! So wide-wide-wide!"--and repudiated by the lowlife of Key West.  And on every page of this peerlessly observant work, Raban makes us experience America with wonder, humor, and an unblinking eye for its contradictions.

"Raban delivers himself of some of the most memorable prose ever written
about urban America." --Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times

"When Raban describes America and Americans, he is unfailingly witty
and entertaining." --Salman Rushdie

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About the Author:

Jonathan Raban is the author of the novels Surveillance and Waxwings; his nonfiction works include Passage to JuneauBad Land, and Driving Home: An American Journey. His honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/West Creative Nonfiction Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, and the Governor’s Award of the State of Washington. He lives in Seattle.

From Publishers Weekly:

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.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Jonathan Raban
Published by Harpercollins (1991)
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