David H Weisberg
"Love fades, art fails, the schemers and conspirators rise, and the racists win. Suburbia conquers all. A gripping thriller narrative and a rich social history of the years that made the modern USA.”
– Sean McCann, author of A Pinnacle of Feeling and Gumshoe America.
“It’s Faulkner meets Hiaasen in Weisberg’s novel of lust, intrigue, greed, and environmental destruction … ”
– Gail Hollander, author of Raising Cane in the ‘Glades.
"A grand, sweeping, postwar novel and a hard-boiled thriller.”
– Foreword Clarion Reviews
“The American Dream itself, shorn of its myths,
rocked by racism, fueled by insatiable desires and reconfigured by powerful forces of nature.”
– Tim Johnson, award-winning journalist, author of
Tragedy in Crimson.
“Engrossing … An intriguing antihero’s perspective on his life
– Kirkus Reviews
About The American Plan
Philip Narby is convinced he has been sent from war-ravaged Korea to a remote part of Florida to serve a clandestine role in the Cold War struggles rising to a boil in Cuba and Latin America. Yet nothing about Narby’s life is as it seems. His isolation and paranoia, and the dangerous secrets he carries with him, lead him into a maze of betrayal — political, sexual, racial and financial. Even as his journey crosses paths with the wealthy and renowned, from Willa Branton, the beautiful abstract-expressionist painter he falls in love with, to Sid Black, the hotel magnate who tracks him down in his jungle hideout, he remains an abject outsider, yearning to be let in, desperate to find a way out. In his quest to untangle the chaos of his blighted past, Narby resembles nothing so much as a Robinson Crusoe of the atomic age, sifting through the wreckage of his life for signs of salvation.
A daring and disturbing tale of survival set in Cuba and South Florida during the 1950s and early 60’s, embracing both the breadth of historical fiction and the intimate intensity of a psychological suspense novel, The American Plan is a vertiginous ride through the mid-century American psyche.
The American Plan is the first in a projected three-novel series exploring the rise and fall of sun-belt America, from the Korean War through the financial debacle of 2008.
Praise for The American Plan:
“A sprawling thriller …. The American Plan is the consummate page turner, difficult to put down as it follows the seismic economic and political changes rocking post-WWII America”
-- The Good Men Project
“A grand, sweeping, postwar novel and a hard-boiled thriller…The American Plan never loses the pounding sense of uncertainty and risk that makes it a page-turner.”
-- Foreword Clarion Reviews
“The American Plan is an exceptional pleasure, a sweeping tale of a soldier wounded in the Korean War who lands in pre-revolutionary Cuba, crosses the Florida Straits, and settles amid the scrub palmetto in the languor and humidity of southwest Florida. Philip Narby, clutching his fifth of Jim Beam and torn by internal demons, is an unlikely bit player in the runaway development that marked the mid-century Florida dream. The novel unfolds with rich detail of the Sunshine State, from the mangrove-choked estuaries to the hotels and dive bars of Miami Beach. As Narby awaits his cut of war-generated corruption, falling for a lithesome New York abstract artist and dwelling with her on a remote barrier island, the reader soon realizes that Narby’s story is the American Dream itself, shorn of its myths, rocked by racism, fueled by insatiable desires and reconfigured by powerful forces of nature.”
-- Tim Johnson, international correspondent for McClatchy News, author of Tragedy in Crimson: How the Dalai Lama Conquered the World but Lost the Battle with China.
“It’s Faulkner meets Hiaasen in David Weisberg’s debut novel of lust, intrigue, greed, and environmental destruction set against the backdrop of Jim Crow race relations in Cold War Florida. Through the character of Philip Narby, a Korean War deserter with a hazy past and shady associates, Weisberg makes vivid Florida’s former tropical sensuality as it was being buried by the juggernaut of suburban sprawl. The novel’s great achievement is to contemplate the political sleaze and petty dreams behind Florida’s development while telling a compelling story that kept me turning pages late into the night. Readers will never think of Florida the same.”
-- Gail Hollander, Associate Professor of Geography, Florida International University, author of Raising Cane in the ‘Glades: The Global Sugar Trade and the Transformation of Florida.
“Engrossing…. An intriguing antihero’s perspective on his life and times.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“The American Plan has history in its DNA.”
-- Benjamin Hale, author of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore and The Fat Artist and Other Stories.
“The American Plan is a page-turner -- beautifully written, with a cast of unforgettable and edgy characters and containing disturbing insights into an earlier era in U.S. history.”
-- Jack Litewka, author, editor, consultant.
"David Weisberg explores the pulpy underside of the Florida dream in the go-go years of the 1950s and early '60s. Philip Narby is like a dark twin to JFK: young, handsome, effortlessly charismatic, fascinated with sexual conquest, allergic to Cold War conformity, and obscurely damaged by his experience of war. His lover Willa Branton, an abstract painter dedicated to the higher calling of art, shares his quest for freedom of all kinds. They have the world on a string. But it all goes wrong. Love fades, art fails, the schemers and conspirators rise, and the racists win. Suburbia conquers all. A gripping thriller narrative and a rich social history of the years that made the modern USA.”
-- Sean McCann, Professor of English, Wesleyan University. Author of A Pinnacle of Feeling: American Literature and Presidential Government and Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism.
Havana, Winter 1953
For the third afternoon running Philip Narby hung about the crummy little sidewalk café, watching for Sylvio. Two hours now, long enough to go through a pack of Chesterfields, four bottles of Hatuey beer, last week’s Time magazine and just about every word of the International Herald Tribune. He was sick of it, waiting like a leashed dog for a lowlife like Sylvio. And if Sylvio didn’t show? That meant skulking around the stairwell of some decrepit apartment house, seeking out one of Narby’s other acquaintances who might have what he wanted, and with a good chance of getting swindled.
Narby ordered another beer and picked up the Tribune. He read the story again, with its glimmer of hope: the North Koreans had finally accepted the U.N. terms for a preliminary exchange of prisoners. Narby knew very well the kind of horseshit the military and the State Department fed the press. Still, it made sense. Ending the war now had advantages for all concerned. Mao could boast that his peasant army had fought the nuclear-armed Americans to a draw. Stalin could stop hemorrhaging tanks and fighter jets. And Eisenhower could make good on his promise to bring our boys back home, get his ticker-tape parade down Broadway. The only losers — once again — were the no-account Koreans themselves. The Poland of East Asia.
Sunday, November 19, 2017,
Thursday, August 10, 2017,
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Friday, April 21st , 2017
Book launch for The American Plan at the venerable and beautiful Books and Books in Coral Gables, FL.
About The Author
David Weisberg is a teacher, playwright, critic and fiction writer. He has taught at Hunter College in New York City, the University of Delaware, and Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. He is the author of Chronicles of Disorder, a groundbreaking study of the works of Samuel Beckett in the context of the vehement cultural and aesthetic polemics of mid-century Europe. His shorter works have appeared in The Albuquerque Alibi, The Tennessee Review, The Mississippi Review, Nepantla: Views from the South, Libido, Nerve.com and other journals. His play, Totem and Taboo, premiered February 2016 at the Central Works Theater in Berkeley, CA.
The American Plan, his first novel, is the inaugural volume of a projected three- novel series chronicling the rise and fall of a fictional region of sun-belt America, from the Korean War through the financial debacle of 2008.
PHOTO BY NATALIE MARSHALL
Also by David H Weisberg
Chronicles of Disorder: Samuel Beckett and the Cultural Politics of the Modern Novel.
“David Weisberg's Chronicles of Disorder is an excellent instance of the new contextualizing trend of Beckett criticism….Beckett’s writing, in Weisberg’s view, maps the riven site of modern intellectual labor itself …. In its larger ambitions, his book helps sharpen the broad rethinking of the fate of modernism from the late 1920s to the 1950s. For this, and its many nuanced readings of Beckett’s text, his book deserves high praise.”
-- Tyrus Miller, Professor of Literature, U.C. Santa Cruz
“A smart original contribution to Beckett studies and the study of literary modernism and postmodernism.”
-- Ann Ardis, Professor of English, U. of Delaware
Totem and Taboo – a play in three acts.
World Premiere at Central Works Theater, Berkeley CA. February 20 – March 20, 2016.
Inspired by Freud’s infamous book of the same title, "Totem and Taboo" is a savage, hilarious, intellectually agile and emotionally moving contemporary black-comedy that fuses elements of surrealism, theater of the absurd, family melodrama, Greek tragedy and classic TV situation-comedy. Ralph used to be a university professor. Now he’s a stay-at-home “house husband,” addicted to pain medication, and raising his 17-year-old son Toby, while his wife, Alice, pursues a vital career as a genetic biologist. On top of his domestic duties, Ralph has also been working on a very long and complex book, his life’s work: "Opting Out of the Social Contract," a radical psychoanalytic critique of the liberal mind. When Ralph’s book fails to find a publisher, his hopes crushed, he turns to his son Toby to carry on his great work. But Toby, Alice, and their newly-divorced neighbor Trixie have other ideas. When a drug-induced hallucination about his troubled relationship to his own father lands Ralph in an episode of the classic TV show "The Honeymooners" (with cannibalism), Ralph’s world spins out of control, and it is up to his son Toby to save the family and usher in a new world.
To read the play, register with The New Play Exchange:
Photo: J. Norrena