Nathan Zuckerman, the narrator from American Pastoral, is back and this time he is tackling the McCarthy era. Nathan reconnects with his high school English teacher, Murray Ringold, after many years and the two reminisce about that turbulent time in their lives. Murray’s brother, Ira, was a famous radio actor back in the day and took Nathan under his wing. Now that Ira is dead Nathan gets to find out everything he had not known about his mentor when he was younger.
Ira was a Jewish communist and marries a beautiful actress in hopes of living the American dream. He had money, a beautiful wife, an expensive home, fans who loved him, and hopes for a child one day. Instead he was thrust into an unsatisfying marriage that came with a troubled and spiteful step daughter. When the marriage went south, his wife fingered him as a communist.
I really didn’t like this book much. It lacked a story I cared about it. I wasn’t drawn to the characters. It made some fine points about that period in American history, but I found myself skimming paragraphs at a time. I much preferred American Pastoral. The next book for the class is The Human Stain.