FICTION

Big Bang

Little, Brown. Jan. 2019. 624p. ISBN 9780316560238. $32; ebk. ISBN 9780316560221. F
COPY ISBN
OrangeReviewStarIt's the 1950s, brought back to life, treating well- and little-known adventures of virtually all the main players. Among them: spook/B-novelist Howard Hunt (always plotting), William S. Burroughs (shoots wife in head), Marilyn Monroe (sympathetic, conflicted), JFK (trystmaster, including a one-nighter with Monroe in Bing Crosby's mansion), Jackson Pollock (howls some lyrics from a Stones song written a decade later while painting a red door black), Richard M. Nixon (thinking himself president-elect, takes off on a lark to Tijuana postelection day), Montgomery Clift (face-shattering accident), Dr. Spock (institutionalizes wife), and Buster Hendrix (later Jimi, in the army). Plus many, many more. Refreshingly, but unusually since the 1700s, the author comes out of the text at times to comment. There's a small Pt. 2 that takes in the early Sixties, ending in a significant treatment of the Kennedy assassination in the penultimate chapter, not surprisingly coming to a conclusion quite different from the Warren Commission's.
VERDICT Bowman's posthumous novel is a masterpiece, certainly long but never tedious because of the rapid focus changes. For full effect, however, readers will need better than a passing knowledge of the political and social climate of the Fifties. [See Prepub Alert, 7/19/18.]

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

TOP STORIES

LIBRARY EDUCATION

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COMMUNITY FORM

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.