American Subversive

American Subversive

by David Goodwillie

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Overview

Aidan Cole and his friends are a band of savvy—if cynical—New York journalists and bloggers, thriving at the intersection of media and celebrity. They meet at loft parties and dive bars, talking of scoops and page views, sexual adventures and new restaurants. And then, without warning, a bomb rips through a deserted midtown office tower, and Aidan’s life will never be the same.

Four days later, with no arrests and a city on edge, an anonymous e-mail arrives in Aidan’s inbox. Attached is the photograph of an attractive young white woman, along with a chilling message: “This is Paige Roderick. She’s the one responsible.”

An astonishing debut novel, American Subversive is a “genuinely thrilling thriller” (NewYorker.com) as well as “an exploration of what motivates radicalism in an age of disillusion” (The New York Times Book Review).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439157060
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David Goodwillie is the author of the novel American Subversive, a New York Times Notable Book and Editor’s Choice, and a Vanity Fair Top Ten Debut, and the memoir Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time. Goodwillie has written about books for The New York Times and The Daily Beast, and his nonfiction has appeared in New York magazine, Newsweek, Popular Science, and Men’s Health. He has also been drafted to play professional baseball, worked as a private investigator, and was an expert at Sotheby’s auction house. A graduate of Kenyon College, he lives in Brooklyn.

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American Subversive 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Alicemarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book made me go "Wow, I never thought of things that way." Depending on circumstances that could be me or someone I know and I totally get it. Things aren't always what they seem. This is a fast paced thriller that makes you look at the label terrorist in a whole different context.
BillPilgrim on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Paige Roderick's brother dies while serving in Iraq, and this event jars her to such an extent that first she becomes an activist, and then a revolutionary. She joins a small cell that plans Actions, i.e. bombings, which are not intended to kill, but to draw attention to the target, which would be some corporation, and thereby expose its misdeeds, and through that process alone put a stop to them. Aidan Cole is a thirty-something Manhattanite, living a self-absorbed life, working as a blogger who comments on the media and partying the nights away with others of his ilk. He is friends with a rich South American playboy, and he is in the middle of breaking up with his girlfriend, although he does not yet fully realize that. Then, out of the blue, he gets an anonymous e-mail identifying a culprit in a recent terrorist bombing in New York City. Attached to the email is a photograph, showing a young woman, Paige Roderick, as she is crossing the street outside the site of the bombing, the Barney's building. Instead of immediately posting the picture on his blog, he decides to investigate and try to find the woman. The book then describes how this decision affects Aidan's life. At the beginning of the book, we see that he and Paige are in hiding in separate locations, fugitives from the authorities, and what we are reading has been written by each of them to explain how they got to that point. The book alternates between the writings of each of them, occasionally jumping forward to showing Aidan in hiding.I found the book very enjoyable and engrossing. The only problem that I have with it was that it occasionally becomes a monologue, with one of the characters speaking at length to describe a history or to state a political viewpoint. I found this technique to be annoying.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Aidan Cole is a thirty-something media blogger, spending his days moving through the hipper-than-thou scene of disaffected New Yorkers. The city is slowly returning to normal after a bombing of a downtown office building, when Aidan receives an anonymous e-mail with a picture of a pretty young woman and the message "This is Paige Roderick. She's the one responsible." Aidan knows he should call the police, but instead he sets out to investigate on his own. As he learns more and more, it seems like he understands less and less: if the e-mail is real, and not some elaborate hoax, why would this average American woman be involved in acts of terrorism? And what's going to happen to her - and him - if he gets involved?Review: This book was an intensely slow start for me. I struggled to get to page 60, and at that point, I hated both of the main characters, and still had no clear idea where the plot was going. I have extraordinarily limited patience when it comes to reading about hard-partying hipster urbanites, and I was more than ready to abandon the book if it meant not having to spend any more time with them. I decided to give the book until page 100, and if I still wasn't interested, then I'd give it up as a lost cause. However, when I picked the book up the next night, the plot finally got kick-started, and while I still didn't like the characters much, I was pulled into their story, and I read straight through to the end of the book, barely even moving except to turn pages. I'm still not sure that I even liked the story, exactly, but it sure as hell was crazy-compelling.Part of the reason that I had a problem connecting with this book was its hyper-realism. I'm normally an escapist reader, and American Subversive is the polar opposite of escapism: it's brutally critical of the modern world, and it demands that its readers wake up and take a good hard look at themselves and at our society, and a lot of what it had to say was almost uncomfortably insightful. However, the brutal criticism was pretty unrelenting. Goodwillie's scathingly critical of the current state of things, and scathingly critical of those who don't try to change the current state of things, but also scathingly critical of the ways in which everyone in this book *does* try to change the current state of things. It's a book that seems to demand something of its readers, but I'll be damned if I could figure out what exactly that something was, leaving me with a feeling like I'd just sat through a scolding I wasn't sure that I deserved. So, overall, it was an (eventually) compelling read, and an interesting change from my beaten path, but I came out the other side not feeling entirely edified or particularly hopeful. On technical grounds, it's an impressive debut novel, it just didn't work so well for me. 3 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: People who like modern (especially post-9/11) fiction or political thrillers more than I do may have an easier time of this than I did.
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I was shocked to read such a wonderful story. His style is so eloquent and so right now!
MarianLee More than 1 year ago
As you might expect from a political thriller, American Subversive is fast paced, gripping and a serious page turner. Now, I'm not a thriller kind of girl but this book is un-freaking-believable. Seriously. The concept is so timely (blogging and terrorism) and I actually found it easy to relate to the main characters (Goodwillie writes from the perspective of a woman - how cool is that?). The relationship between said characters (two narrators: blogger and terrorist) is complicated but innocent, with intertwining facets you find yourself constantly thinking about long after the final page. Aidan, failed journalism student turned gossip blogger on a site that eerily resembles Gawker, is both completely unlikeable (but with good intentions) and the kind of protagonist you root for from beginning to end. Paige, a very sad but very determined eco-terrorist is responsible for turning 2010 Manhattan into chaos. It's horribly familiar to those of us who lived through 9/11, which makes it a relevant and necessary read. As a fun side note, I hear Aidan's blog (Roorback.com) is actually being turned into a real site... stay tuned..