A gunman seizes hostages a short drive from Leonard Lessing's house. His face leaps out of the evening news and out of Leonard's own past ...Lennie Lessing is a jazzman taking a break. His glory days seem to be behind him, his body is letting him down, and rather than continue to take on the world, he relives old gigs and feeds his media addiction ...Read MoreA gunman seizes hostages a short drive from Leonard Lessing's house. His face leaps out of the evening news and out of Leonard's own past ...Lennie Lessing is a jazzman taking a break. His glory days seem to be behind him, his body is letting him down, and rather than continue to take on the world, he relives old gigs and feeds his media addiction during solitary days at home. Increasingly estranged from his busy wife Francine, who is herself mourning the sudden absence of her only daughter, Leonard has found his own groove: suburban and safe from surprises. He could continue like this for years. Then comes the news bulletin that threatens to change everything. Leonard has a choice to make. Set in England, 2024, and George Bush's Texas, 2006, this hypnotic novel wonders whether a life full of sound and fury signifies more than a life lived quietly, and asks what it truly means to love, to believe, and to be courageous.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2010-01-18 Leonard Lessing, the British protagonist of Crace's surprisingly bad 10th novel (after The Pesthouse), has Walter Mitty-like dreams of being a revolutionary that are invariably short-circuited by his fear of making a disturbance. In 2006, Leonard, while in Austin, Tex., to reconnect with ex-flame Nadia, is bullied into assuming the role of activist by Maxie, the founder of Snipers Without Bullets, who is living with Nadia and who has gotten her pregnant. Though Maxie appalls Leonard, he nevertheless halfheartedly takes part in an "action" against Laura Bush that leads to Nadia's arrest and her daughter, Lucy, being born in prison. Eighteen years later, Leonard sees a news story about Maxie, who has taken a British family hostage. While gawking at the proceedings, Leonard runs into Lucy and gets drawn, once again, into a cockeyed scheme that begins Leonard's unlikely reunion with Nadia and a partial, ironic fulfillment of his dream of being an iconic radical. Unfortunately, Crace's novel is held hostage by the listlessness that emanates from chickenhearted Leonard and the embarrassing stereotypes that clutter many of the scenes, especially those set in Texas. This is a feeble effort for a novelist of Crace's stature. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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