When an Army trucker goes AWOL before her third deployment, she ends up sleeping in Central Park. There, she meets a Vietnam vet and widower who inherited a tumbledown Borscht Belt resort. Converted into a halfway house for homeless veterans, the Standard and its two thousand acres over the Marcellus Shale Formation is coveted by a Houston-based multinational company.Read more...
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When an Army trucker goes AWOL before her third deployment, she ends up sleeping in Central Park. There, she meets a Vietnam vet and widower who inherited a tumbledown Borscht Belt resort. Converted into a halfway house for homeless veterans, the Standard and its two thousand acres over the Marcellus Shale Formation is coveted by a Houston-based multinational company. Toward what end, only a corporate executive knows.
With three violent acts at its center a mauling, a shooting, a mysterious death decades in the past and set largely in the Catskills, The Standard Grand spans an epic year in the lives of its diverse cast: a female veteran protagonist, a Mesoamerican lesbian landman, a mercenary security contractor keeping secrets and seeking answers, a conspiratorial gang of combat vets fighting to get peaceably by, and a cougar along with appearances by Sammy Davis, Jr. and Senator Al Franken. All of the characters soldiers, civilians struggle to discover that what matters most is not that they ve caused no harm, but how they make amends for the harm they ve caused.
The Standard Grand confronts a glaring cultural omission: the absence of women in our war stories. Like the best of its characters who aspire more to goodness than greatness this American novel hopes to darn a hole or two in the frayed national fabric."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-02-13
- Reviewer: Staff
An Army trucker skips her third deployment to live in a halfway house for homeless veterans in this promising debut novel. After leaving her deadbeat civilian husband, specialist Antebellum Smith drives from the Ozarks to New York City, where, after several directionless weeks, she eventually takes up residence at the Standard, a sprawling upstate resort that hosts disadvantaged former military. Owned by Milton, a widowed Vietnam vet, the Standards location is quickly revealed to be coveted by IRJ Inc., a multinational corporation intent on transforming the property into a golf course. Alternating perspectives in each section, the symphonic novel dramatizes the lives of both the Standards residents and the employees of IRJ, creating an incisive parable for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Though the novel stalls a bit in the middle, its vibrant style and twisting plotat one point a character is mauled by a cougarmake for an appropriately complex snapshot of Americas relationship with the men and women who defend it. (Apr.)