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a doubt, my favorite novel of the year thus far has to be Adam Langer's
outstanding debut, CROSSING CALIFORNIA A sweeping, multi-generational saga
of three unforgettable Chicago families, it's urbane, ambitious, and
hilarious with a winning pop sensibility. Langer breathes life into his
characters with a warmth and generosity that's practically unheard of in
-- Brad Parsons - Amazon.com Editor in Chief
"CROSSING CALIFORNIA is a tremendously moving and funny first novel about
two generations of family and friends in Chicago at the end of the 1970's.
California, the street not the state, separates the the Jewish community
into upper and middle class, and Langer captures the time and place with
unsentimental insight. This is a wonderful combination of social commentary,
personal dreams, family function and dysfunction, half-forgotten history and
pop culture.A wise, big-hearted book that ended much too soon."
-- Leslie Reiner - Inkwood Books, Tampa FL
"CROSSING CALIFORNIA is one of the most vivid books ever written about
coming of age in the late 1970's, while at the same time it is a portrait of
Chicago that belongs up on the shelf with Dybek, Algren and Bellow. With an
anthropologistís eye for detail and a poetís heart, Adam Langer examines the
lives of these All-American Jewish Chicago kids to create a wonderfully
funny, rich, and moving mosaic of a book."
-- Dan Chaon - National Book Award-nominated author of Among the
Missing and You Remind Me of Me
"Adam Langerís novel is a triumph of wry observation and merciless insight--
a darkly comic, even bravely comic view of lust and loss, doubt, faith, and
social yearning. An amazing debut by a terrifically talented writer."
-- Elinor Lipman - author of The Pursuit of Alice Thrift
"Adam Langer knows Chicago. He also knows American history, Jewish
tradition, family function and dysfunction, and pop culture. More
importantly, Adam Langer knows about the unspoken caste system prevalent in
our country's secondary schools. Crossing California is a sweeping
Pynchonian/Salingerian/Rothian epic tale that focuses on the intricate
dreams and brutal realities of the Wasserstrom and Rovner families, plus
wonderful Muley Wills. Their intersecting lives, their actions and
responses, prove beyond all else that Adam Langer knows about the sputtering
human heart. Crossing California is a classic."
-- George Singleton - author of The Half-Mammals of Dixie and These
People Are Us
"Adam Langerís CROSSING CALIFORNIA carries us at full gallop into the lives
and locales of a vivid crew of characters whose plans and failures and
yearning hearts seem as real and true as our own. Along the way he manages a
surprisingly affectionate rendering of the early 1980ís, unearthing funny
and poignant touchstones out of that little purgatory between Woodstock and
the computer age. By turns wise, droll, and sexy-and sporting a plot that
Charles Dickens might have envied -- CROSSING CALIFORNIA is a superb first
-- Brad Barkley, author of Money, Love, Alison's Automotive Repair
Manual: A Novel.