A Civil War novel unlike any other: the story of a young man's journey through a nation blasted apart.
Born in 1844, Liberty Fish is the descendant of both Carolina slaveholders and New York abolitionists. In hopes of reconciling the warring strands of his heritage, he escapes his home in the North -- first into the cauldron of the Civil War, and then into the even more disturbing bedlam that follows.
The Amalgamation Polka showcases not only the brutality of this tragic passage in American history, but also its surprising compassion and hope. In language both true to its time and completely modern, it is revelatory and mesmerizing, a novel that "will bring a smile to your own lips as it sets your brain on fire." (Jason McBride, the Village Voice).
About the Author
Stephen Wright is a Vietnam veteran, MFA graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the author of four previous novels. He has received a Whiting Award in Fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and has taught writing and literature at Iowa, Princeton, Brown, and The New School. He was born in Warren, Pennsylvania, and lives in New York City.
PRAISE FOR THE AMALGAMATION POLKA :
"An extravagantly talented novelist. . . . For Wright, America, past and present, is Wonderland, a place of marvels and horrors from which not even the fortunate escape with their heads. " --Laura Miller, The New York Times Book Review
"This dark and lyrical tale of madness and prophecy speaks uncannily from within its period, in the tradition of heartbroken humor, which America's lapses of faith in its own promise have always evoked in the finest of our storytellers, among whom Stephen Wright here honorably takes his place." --Thomas Pynchon
"Quite simply an astonishing novel, brilliantly executed and beautifully written. Stephen Wright deserves to be famous and feted for it." --The Atlanta Journal-Constitution—-
PRAISE FOR STEPHEN WRIGHT
Meditations in Green (1983)
"Precisely that brutal hallucination we desperately wanted to end." --Don DeLillo
"The best that any fiction about this war has offered." --Newsweek
M31: A Family Romance (1988)
"Beautiful and terrifying. . . . M31 offers a big, bold look at the American family. It takes us far away and very close to home. . . . Stephen Wright is a . . . bright star in the literary sky." --San Francisco Chronicle
"M31 is a devastatingly forceful accomplishment and reestablishes its author as a star of the first magnitude." --The Washington Post Book World
"Mr. Wright's sentences buzz like high-tension wires. I enjoyed reading every word of M31, literally." --Russell Banks
Going Native (1994)
"An astonishing novel." --Toni Morrison—-
Praise for Processed Cheese
"Processed Cheese does for consumerism what Catch-22 did for war."—Stephen King, bestselling author of IT and The Shining
"In novel after unsparing novel-each one gorgeous, too, and full of awe- Stephen Wright has emerged as a kind of modern-day Socrates hectoring a complacent citizenry to have a good hard look at its collective delusions. With Processed Cheese, he's written a novel so outrageous and diagnostic of our current ills, it will prove much stronger than hemlock. If you hope to keep up your venality, America, your cruelties, and your death wish, better string this court jester up by his toes."—Joshua Ferris, author of The Dinner Party