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About the book
  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407092904
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 544
Categories:

Divine Magnetic Lands

A Journey in America




Using history, memoir, state-of-the-nation analysis and a novelist´s skill at evoking places and people, Divine Magnetic Lands presents a picture of America as it evolved and how it is at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

In 1973, aged twenty-two, Timothy O'Grady left America for Europe. He had grown up through the time of moonshots and protest marches, new music and unprecedented economic expansion and of hopes for a new society, a new democracy and a new kind of man.
For the next thirty years he lived in and wrote about Europe. As he did, the American counter-culture crashed, Ronald Reagan came and went, wars were declared and the country was attacked by air. Much of the world began to look at America in a new way, wondering what had happened to it and where it was going. Among them was Timothy O'Grady, and he decided to go back and investigate.
Following in the footsteps of such Europeans as de Tocqueville, Dickens and Simone de Beauvoir, and such Americans as Henry Miller, Kerouac, Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie, he went out onto the American road, travelling over fifteen thousand miles through thirty-five states. He met academics, the homeless, war veterans, political activists, New Orleans rappers, billionaires, novelists and a Ku Klux Klansman. A Yale legal historian told him why there are a million lawyers in America, a Chicago broker how executive pay is set and how the lobbying system works in Washington, and a Salvadorean gang member how life is on the streets of East Los Angeles. In every bar he stopped in, it seemed, there was a story of American life to be heard.
Using history, memoir, state-of-the-nation analysis and a novelist's skill at evoking places and people, Divine Magnetic Lands presents a picture of America as it evolved and how it is at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

  • Pub date: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407092904
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 544
Categories:

About the Author

Timothy O'Grady

Timothy O'Grady was born in the USA and has lived in Ireland, London and Spain. He is the author (with Kenneth Griffith) of Curious Journey: An Oral History of Ireland's Unfinished Revolution, and the novels Motherland, which won the David Higham award for the best first novel in 1989, and I Could Read the Sky, which won the Encore award for best second novel of 1997. His book On Golf was published by Yellow Jersey to superb reviews in 2003.

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Praise for Divine Magnetic Lands

“It's a brave man who takes America itself as his subject. But the success of this book is due precisely to its audacious scale and depth ... O'Grady has a novelist's ear for dialogue and a keen eye for detail. He also has the knack of being able to talk to anyone. Thus we meet businessmen, war veterans, Native Americans, New Orleans rappers and Ku Klux Klansmen, all of them rendered with the care and skill of a miniaturist. He also writes beautifully of landscape... He is equally strong on history, politics and current affairs... There hasn't been a better book about America in years”

Daily Telegraph

“While a cultural and literary journey, O'Grady's is also a political one, showing a country in denial thanks to an inert media intent on ingratiating itself with the powerful”

Guardian

“O'Grady remains a noteworthy addition to the tradition {Max} Sebald pioneered, a tradition that mixes travel, history, fiction and introspection into the literary equivalent of a new world”

Independent

“He is perceptive and knowledgeable and writes clear, easy prose...If you're travelling to the States anytime soon, this is a book to pack”

Metro

“Entertaining and illuminating”

Observer

“Fascinating... the real joy of Divine Magnetic Lands lies in his wildly erudite digressions, which range from a passionate denunciation of American academic life to an intriguing gloss on New Orleans Hip-Hop”

Sunday Times

“As a memoir of the road, O'Grady's work is hugely successful. In many ways it is a literary guide to the US”

Irish Times

“His routes, and what he brings to it in sensibility and perceptions, are fresh and all his own. O'Grady writes wonderfully well on contemporary America. [..] There is no better guide to the nation.”

Duncan Bush, La Voix Luxemburger Wort

“Displays both the startling lyricism and the patient reflection that have made his previous fictions so compelling ... Rich in present -tense atmospherics and underpinned by searching enquiry, with a great sense of intimacy and scale ... At once a work of profound personal and collective memory, it's also inevitably a speculative response to September 2001”

Time Out


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