Novel of the week: American Subversive by David Goodwillie
David Goodwillie’s “engrossing, sometimes very funny” debut novel is many things at once, said Jennifer Reese in NPR.org.
David Goodwillie’s “engrossing, sometimes very funny” debut novel is many things at once, said Jennifer Reese in NPR.org. The author “skewers the contemporary digital chattering classes” with a tale about an online gossip hound who goes hunting for a beautiful domestic terrorist—even as he takes “an earnest moral inventory of America” by letting a romance develop between the two. As clever as Goodwillie is, though, “even he can’t roll political critique, social comedy, fast-paced thriller, and mushy love story into one.” For a while, Goodwillie holds the pieces together, attempting “an exploration of what motivates radicalism in an age of disillusionment,” said Malena Watrous in The New York Times. The blonde terrorist is a memorable heroine who became radical in the wake of personal tragedy, and the jaded reporter grows to admire her. Yet the reporter’s motive often seems to be simply “attraction to a hot chick”—realistic, perhaps, but too shallow for an author as ambitious as Goodwillie.