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Leading the Cheers

Leading the Cheers

(1998)
A novel by

 
For travelers, history has a way of appearing crystallized. It's all too easy, when visiting someone else's country, to discern the links between the ideas of the past and the way people live now. And in Justin Cartwright's Leading the Cheers, London ad man Dan Silas is happy to make such links. British by birth, he attended high school briefly in Michigan, then returned to his native soil. Now his class has asked him to be the keynote speaker at their 30th reunion. Dan is in just the right mood to make such a trip; he's recently sold his wildly successful agency and broken up with his young girlfriend. "What carried me far in advertising was a glib up-to-dateness, and its roots obviously go back a long way. It is this cheapness which I am endeavouring to slough off. I will avail myself, without cynicism, of the offer to buy a commemorative brick from the old high school."

For Dan, America has come to represent a kind of lost, earnest innocence: you can practically hear the fife-and-drum music in the background as he rolls into town for the reunion. No less rosy are his memories of his best friend, Gary, and his high-school sweetheart, Gloria, with whom he first coupled on Thomas Jefferson's bed at Monticello on a class field trip. "In my memory, Gloria and Monticello are for ever joined." But now she claims he fathered a daughter that fateful afternoon, a daughter who's been murdered by a serial killer. Meanwhile, Gary has gone off the deep end, convinced he's an Ojibway Indian and leading ceremonies in a tipi in his mom's backyard. Dan's attempt to reconcile his Edenic memories with the bitter realities wrought by 30 years of history yield a singularly woeful comic novel. At times Justin Cartwright's narrative seems filigreed with ideas and ironies; at other times it seems concerned, quite simply, with one man who learns that his "version of what goes on is certainly faulty." --Claire Dederer



After Dan Silas's advertising company is bought out, his invitation to his thirty-year high school reunion arrives with perfect timing, and he leaves London to return to the small Michigan town he has not seen since 1968. With wit, humor, and compassion, Whitbread Award-winner and Booker Prize-nominee Justin Cartwright takes Dan through the mounting stages of both culture shock and mid-life crisis. Back in Michigan, he discovers his best friend now believes he is a reincarnated Shawnee Indian and his high school sweetheart claims she had a daughter by him - who has just been murdered by the Hollybush's new celebrity, a small-town serial killer. With brilliantly evoked characters and crackling dialogue, Leading the Cheers comically explores what people want out of life - and what they get instead.

 
Used availability for Justin Cartwright's Leading the Cheers


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

October 1999 : USA Hardback
Title: Leading the Cheers
Author(s): Justin Cartwright
ISBN: 0-7867-0658-9 / 978-0-7867-0658-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

September 1998 : UK Hardback
Title: Leading the Cheers
Author(s): Justin Cartwright
ISBN: 0-340-63784-6 / 978-0-340-63784-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Sceptre
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

May 1999 : UK Paperback
Title: Leading the Cheers
Author(s): Justin Cartwright
ISBN: 0-340-63785-4 / 978-0-340-63785-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Sceptre
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 1999 : UK Paperback
Title: Leading the Cheers
Author(s): Justin Cartwright
ISBN: 0-340-75161-4 / 978-0-340-75161-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Sceptre
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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