FICTION

Gettysburg

Grove. Jul. 2019. 300p. ISBN 9780802147387. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780802147394. F
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John Reynolds, scion of Gettysburg, PA, former battlefield tour guide, and successful Hollywood lawyer, is having a midlife crisis. Creatively unfulfilled and worn down by the phoniness of the movie business, he’s made plans to get in touch with the deeper sense of self he felt when he was younger, which in his case means secretly signing up for a Civil War reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, to be held on the ball fields of a small California town. But things go uproariously wrong just before he leaves for the reenactment when a drunken lunch with an ex-Playboy Playmate (and subject of his youthful fantasies) and her ex-Miss Universe friend leads him to bring them with him. They are soon joined by his suspicious and worried wife, Stella, and his daughter, Heather, who have tracked him to Enchino, along with an old friend and legendary television writer, Norm.
VERDICT Though Reynolds’s plans for renewal end up wildly off the mark, he ultimately finds something of value. While delightedly skewering the privileged entertainment industry lifestyle, Morris (All Joe Knight) uses Reynolds’s travails and the divisions of the Civil War period to make larger points about the current state of America. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]

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