Photo by William Bodenschatz
About the Author:
THOMAS MALLON is the author of ten novels, including Henry and Clara, Dewey Defeats Truman, Fellow Travelers, Watergate, and Finale. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, and The Atlantic, and in 2011 he received the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award for prose style. He has been the literary editor of GQ and the deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He lives in Washington, D.C.
About the Book: Landfall
From “a master of the historical novel” (Newsweek), whose fiction “unfolds with the urgency of a thriller” (The New Yorker), the tumultuous–at once witty and sad–chronicle of George W. Bush’s second term, as his aspirations toward greatness are thrown into upheaval by the twin catastrophes of Iraq and Katrina.
Landfall has at its center a president whose high-speed shifts between charm and petulance, resoluteness and self-pity, continually energize and mystify those around him–including his acerbic and crafty mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush; the desperately correct but occasionally unbuttoned Condoleezza Rice; the gnomic and manipulative Donald Rumsfeld; and the caustic observer Ann Richards (Bush’s predecessor as governor of Texas). A gallery of political and media figures, from the widowed Nancy Reagan to the philandering John Edwards to the brilliantly contrarian Christopher Hitchens, bring the novel and the era to life.
The story is deepened and driven by two West Texans: Ross Weatherall and Allison O’Connor, whose destinies have been affixed to Bush’s since they were teenagers in the 1970s; a true believer and skeptic who end up exchanging ideological places in a romantic and political drama that unfolds in locations from New Orleans to Baghdad, and during the parties, press conferences, and state funerals of Washington, D. C.
Landfall is the culmination of a contemporary epic whose previous volumes (Watergate and Finale) have been repeatedly singled out as outstanding novels of the years in which they appeared. Thomas Mallon is one of our most beloved writers–recognition of his achievement and talent only grows.
Who knew W. would look so good years later? That said, this is a book of real sadness, the story of a leader who was caught unawares by events for which he was not responsible and could not control.