While researching his latest novel, Michener stopped in Havana and what he found there struck him so that he wrote this separate volume about it. The meat of the book was gleaned from interviews with close to 200 Cubans of widely assorted backgrounds and positions, and concerns how the country has progressed after 90 years of independence from Spain and under the 30-year leadership of Castro. Kings’s many photographs are a fine complement to the text. Bound to be in demand by Michener’s numerous fans. Literary Guild alternate; Doubleday Book Club selection.– MR
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When James Michener visited Havana with his associate John Kings, he was only researching Cuba for a new novel on the Caribbean, but he found much more to excite his interest. Michener’s insightful text and Kings’s evocative photographs record their impressions of Havana thirty years after the Revolution.
The veteran author’s extended exploration of the world of geriatrics is an up and down affair, alternating inspiring episodes with cliche-ridden narratives. Andy Zorn, a young doctor running from a past scandal, has been hired by geriatric mogul John Taggart to revitalize the Palms, a Tampa retirement community that’s fallen into a minor malaise of both profits and morale. Michener sets up his usual labyrinthine sprawl of secondary characters, but what’s missing is the unique sense of place that’s driven his best works in the past. This time, Michener applies his research to the ravages of old age that plague the Palms’ population, but the level of detail often seems unnecessary for the story he’s telling. Some episodes and characters are touching: the tale of a seemingly mismatched couple in which the husband cares for the wife after she contracts Alzheimer’s; a series of stories about four elder statesmen in the home who conspire to build and fly an airplane; and the saga of a widow who must make some difficult decisions after a biopsy for breast cancer. On the negative side, the romantic subplot between Zorn and a handicapped woman whom he rescues after a car accident reads like fodder for a bad TV movie; the doctor’s efforts to provide care for an AIDS patient outside the home have similar problems with realism-the worst offense being a series of passages told from the perspective of a rattlesnake. It’s obvious that Michener, who turns 87 this year, finds his subject engaging-but there’s not quite enough inspiration here to place this with his top-shelf work. Major ad/promo; Random House Audiobook.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“MICHENER IS AMERICA’S BEST WRITER.”
–The Pittsburgh Press
In his stunning new novel, bestselling novelist James A. Michener draws on his unparalleled gift for storytelling, his deep understanding of American society, and his own life experiences to illuminate the challenges of aging and the folly of youth in a Florida retirement home known as the Palms.
As the new, young director of the Palms, Andy Zorn suffers no shortage of loving support and wise advice from his “elders,” a group of five passionate, outspoken residents who refuse to accept the passive roles that both society and family have handed them. Yet past scandal has driven Zorn to despondency, until he meets an extraordinary young woman in the rehab wing, who has been forced to rebuild her life in the face of crippling injuries. Now Zorn finds himself falling in love–and with the help and gentle jabs from his more mature friends, he discovers a wonderful new purpose in life….
“Michener hooks you with wonderfully humorous scenes. These are then interwoven between the moments of pain and heartache brought about by life choices we all must make.”
“Engaging…One will be drawn into the novelist’s world….The lush natural setting provides James Michener plenty to show and tell.”
–The Washington Times