A decent novel about American radicals, the kind who set off bombs, descendants of the Weather Underground and the Earth Liberation Front. This novel, unlike Stuart Archer Cohen's The Army of the Republic, is strangely passive: the action, what there is of it, is described at one or two removes, through the after-the-fact words of one radical and one blogger who get swept up in a plot to blow up an office at a major media headquarters in New York City. There are also too...more
Most of the time, a book with action as the centerpoint, like action movies these days, has to go over the top. I appreciated that the author thought enough of the audience not to go to extremes. The action in the book is realistic and while violent, doesn't involve killing scores of people to be effective. Too, it can be argued that the action is a mere sidebar and the re...more
Aidan Cole is a thirty-something Manhattanite, living a self-absorbed life, working as a blogger who co...more
The dual protagonists/narrators are Aidan Cole, a member of the chattering class, who blogs for Roorback, ("a roorback is a defamatory falsehood published for political effect") and Paige Rode...more
The relationship between said characters (two narrators: blogger and terrorist) is complicated but innocent,...more
I've read a bit about 1960's era revlutionaries, and have struggled with the notion that groups like the Weather Underground were in fact not revolutionaries, but ultimately reformist. American Subversive makes this idea clear for me. The main characters and their comrades do not believe a revolution can take place in the United States, and th...more
Unfortunately, I hated every single character in this book. It was extremely difficult to identify with self-absorbed hipsters and terrorists. I didn't care about the people, ergo I didn't care about the story.
I'll try to summarize the plot without spoiling the story:
Unlikeable counter-culture terror...more
Told in alternating chapters from the points of vi...more
1) multiple 1st person POV -- ugh. Just, ugh.
2) female characters are all props -- you wouldn't think this would be possible when one of the protagonists is female, but she manages to have absolutely no identity that doesn't derive from a man; it would be an impressive feat if it weren't so maddening.
3) plot makes NO LOGICAL SENSE -- especially the "romance" bits.
4) infodumps boring, tange...more
The story begins just after a bombing in midtown Manhattan, and the city is still reeling, and searching for culprits. Protagonist Aidan Cole, a blogger who parties with the media elite, receives an anonymous tip pointing him toward the perpetrators of the bombing, and t...more
So goes one of my favorite all time quotes from a book that already covered much of the same ground--The Players by Don DeLillo. While in many respects American Subversive is an update of that story for the internet generation, it disappointingly falls short of the mark.
From this point forward, there are gonna be spoilers. If that's not your bag, man, then you should stop reading.
What the book has going for it is t...more
I enjoyed this book at first, although I was repeatedly frustrated by Goodwillie's portrayal of Paige, the activist, and the history he gives (through her) of the WTO protests, Earth Liberation Front, etc. For example, according to the book, at the WTO, the cops only started firing teargas after getting pelted with rocks and such. Uh, not. Also, the black bloc folks smashed in the...more
I found this very thought provoking. It makes me think about our country today and the spoiled young people who have a me-first attitude while they accumulate stuff at the cost of the environment to benefit the fat cats of business. Sometimes it's good to see a few revolutionaries who want to shine a light on issues to help wake up the complac...more
The story, about eco-terrorists, moves along, the characters were believable to me. Good quick read.
From the very beginning of this story, Goodwillie catches his readers up in a sense of intrigue and secrecy, at the heart of which are real human characters. The distinguishing element of this novel, for me, is the honesty with which it seems to be written. Goodwillie seems to reveal essential truths about what it is to be human, to be emotionally driven, to be idealistic, and to discover love through respect. Furthermore, this books presents a subtle commentary throughout on what it means to be...more
"There was a velocity to the city, a careening inevitability that became addictive. Everyone I knew felt it--the great rush of plans and possibilities--and we lived accordingly. What was it exactly? It was everything vibrating at once" (173).
As I think about moving out of the city in the next couple of months, I do feel that I wil...more