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  • Published: 15 February 2018
  • ISBN: 9780241983423
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

Birds of America

Introduction by Booker Prize-Winning Author Penelope Lively

An electrifying modern American classic about a young man's political awakening, with an introduction by Penelope Lively

Peter Levi, a shy and sensitive American teenager, moves to Paris to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, where he is determined to live a life in harmony with his own idealistic views. But the world is changing at breakneck pace, with nuclear war looming abroad and racial tensions simmering at home. Before long, Peter's naïve illusions are shattered, as he finds himself an unwilling participant in an era of extraordinary change.

Birds of America is an unforgettable and deeply moving story of personal and political turmoil; of the strange and surprising nature of growing up; and of the questions we face when we examine who we really are.

  • Published: 15 February 2018
  • ISBN: 9780241983423
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

Other books in the series

About the author

Mary McCarthy

Mary McCarthy was a well-known novelist, critic, journalist and memoirist. She was born in Seattle, of mixed Catholic, Protestant and Jewish descent. She died in October 1989.

Also by Mary McCarthy

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Praise for Birds of America

A brilliant novel: honest, engaging and sharp as a tack

Sarah Waters on 'The Group'

A profoundly thoughtful and moving book


A writer known for her immaculate prose, her wit, her glamour, her sexual adventures... and the shocking candor of her fiction

New Yorker

An absorbing novel about a young man's voyage into adulthood, enlivened by Mary McCarthy's needling wit. You have to go away to understand home, you have to lose yourself to find yourself; Mary McCarthy's insight into her young hero - his awkward growing-up, his efforts to understand his time and place - create an authentic and thoughtful slice of cultural history.

Hilary Mantel, Booker prize-winning author of 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies'

Fiercely intelligent, insatiably combative, McCarthy's novels invite controversy

Penelope Lively, from the introduction

I read it in one gulp

Laura Freeman, author of 'The Reading Cure'

McCarthy earned recognition for her cool, analytic intelligence and her exacting literary voice - a voice capable of moving from the frivolously feminine to the willfully cerebral, from girlish insouciance to bare-knuckled fury

Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

This funny, grumpy, coming-of-age tale still strikes a chord. . . There is much in McCarthy's novel, published by Penguin in a new edition to mark the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, that makes you say: "Yes! Exactly! Spot on."

The Times

Birds of America brings to mind the teenage angst of Catcher in the Rye, but with a political conscience. Full of hilarious and extremely honest one-liners

Essential Journal

An endlessly fascinating novel

San Francisco Chronicle

In the same class as Henry James's The American and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer


One of America's leading women of letters, a writer with a reputation for acerbic insights and penetrating prose


There was never anything "ladylike" about Mary McCarthy's writing. For aspiring female writers, she remains totemic.

Vanity Fair

There was something so crisp and clever and bold about her writing

Claire Tomalin

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