Memories of the Ford Administration
Random House, Inc.
"Stunning...Alf's life and times are light and funny; Buchanan's are dark and serious. Alternating between the two, Mr. Updike entertains and instructs...in gorgeous prose."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
When junior college professor Alfred Clayton is asked to record his impressions of the Ford Administration, he recalls a turbulent piece of personal history as well. In a decade of sexual liberation, Clayton was facing a doomed marriage and the passionate beginnings of a futile affair with an unattainable Perfect Wife. But one memory begets another: Clayton's unfinished book on James Buchanan. In John Updike's fifteenth novel, he masterfully alternates between the two men, two lives, two American centuries--one Victorian, the other modern--shining an irreverent, witty, and sometimes caustic light on the contrasting views of social fictions and sexual politics....
A MAIN SELECTION OF THE BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
From the Paperback edition.
Baker & Taylor
Alfred Clayton, a history instructor at Wayward Junior College in New Hampshire, juxtaposes his memories and impressions of Gerald Ford's administration with pages from his unpublished biography of James Buchanan. 50,000 first printing. $75,000 ad/promo.
Blackwell North Amer
Alfred Clayton, the hero of John Updike's fifteenth novel, has received a request from the Northern New England Association of American Historians for his memories and impressions of the Gerald Ford Administration (1974-77). "Alf" obliges with his memories of a turbulent period in his personal history, as well as pages of an unpublished book he was writing at the time, on the life of James Buchanan, the fifteenth President of the United States (1857-61). The alternating texts body forth an arresting contrast between the life-styles and social dictions of two American centuries. The contemporary characters include Clayton's wife, Norma, whom he thinks of as the Queen of Disorder, and his mistress, Genevieve Mueller, whom he thinks of as the Perfect Wife, as well as his various colleagues on the faculty of Wayward College in New Hampshire. The characters around Buchanan include his doomed fiancee, Ann Coleman, and such eloquent contemporary politicians as Andrew Jackson, Edwin Stanton, and (in his capacity as American Consul in Liverpool) Nathaniel Hawthorne. All come unsettlingly to life in Clayton's wide-ranging confessions, which bring us down to the year 1991.
Alfred Clayton, a history instructor at Wayward Junior College in New Hampshire, juxtaposes his memories of Gerald Ford's administration with pages from his unpublished biography of James Buchanan
New York : Knopf, 1992
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