Wednesday, 7:00 pm EDT October 25, 2023
The Center for Fiction
The Ticket/Voucher option includes a $10 Bookstore voucher, redeemable toward the featured event book on the night of the event.
To celebrate the launch of his first novel in twenty years, American literary icon and best-selling author of The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien, joins us at The Center for Fiction, in partnership with Harper’s Magazine, to discuss America Fantastica as a part of our On America conversation series. America Fantastica is a propulsive caper of a book, beginning with a harebrained bank robbery followed by a madcap cross-country chase, abundant with O’Brien’s razor-sharp commentary on the state of American politics and culture. Rick MacArthur, award-winning journalist and president of Harper’s Magazine, will join O’Brien in a conversation about capturing the American reality in fiction, the rapid dissemination of disinformation, and the future of an increasingly divided America. After the conversation, O’Brien will sign and personalize books.
Presented in partnership with Harper’s Magazine.
Tim O’Brien received the National Book Award in Fiction for Going After Cacciato. The Things They Carried was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; it received the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction and France’s Prix de Meilleur Livre Etranger. In 2005, The Things They Carried appeared on the New York Times poll of “The Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years” and was earlier included among its Books of the Century; in 2021, it was named one of The Center Fiction’s 200 Books That Shaped 200 Years of Literature. In the Lake of the Woods, published in 1994, was chosen by Time magazine as the best novel of that year. The book also received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians and was selected as one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times. In 2010, O’Brien received the Katherine Anne Porter Award, presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for a distinguished body of work. He has also received the Mark Twain Award in Literature and lifetime achievement awards from the Dayton Peace Prize Foundation and the Pritzker Military Library. O’Brien has been elected to both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Photo Credit: Tad O'Brien
John R. MacArthur
John R. MacArthur
John Rick MacArthur is president and publisher of Harper’s Magazine and an award-winning journalist and author. Under his leadership, Harper’s has received twenty-two National Magazine Awards, the industry’s highest recognition. He edited and wrote the introduction (and conducted the last interview) for Graham Greene: The Last Interview and Other Conversations, published by Melville House in 2019. His essays appear regularly in the Spectator (U.K.) and he writes a column (in French) for Montreal’s Le Devoir newspaper. In 2017 he was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters, an honor bestowed by the French government. His books include Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War and The Selling of Free Trade: NAFTA, Washington, & the Subversion of American Democracy. Mr. MacArthur grew up in Winnetka, Illinois, and graduated in 1978 from Columbia University with a B.A. in history. He lives with his wife and two daughters in New York City.
By Tim O'Brien
Published by HarperCollins / Mariner Books
At 11:34am one Saturday in August 2019, Boyd Halverson strode from his battered Buick LeSabre and entered Community National Bank in northern California.
“How much is on hand, would you say?” he asked the teller.
“I’ll want it all.”
“You’re robbing me?”
He revealed a Temptation .38 Special.
Angie Bing collected $81,000.
Boyd stuffed the cash into a paper grocery bag.
“I’m sorry about this,” he said, “but I’ll have to ask you to take a ride with me.…”
So begins the adventure of Boyd Halverson—star journalist turned notorious online disinformation troll turned JC Penney manager—and his irrepressible hostage, Angie Bing. Haunted by his past and weary of his present, Boyd has one goal before the authorities catch up with him: settle a score with the man who destroyed his life. By Monday the pair had reached Mexico; by Winter, they were in a lakefront mansion in Minnesota. On their trail are hitmen, jealous lovers, ex-cons, an heiress, a billionaire shipping tycoon, a three-tour veteran of Iraq, and the ghosts of Boyd’s past. Everyone, it seems, except the police.
America Fantastica marks the triumphant return of an essential voice in American letters. Just as O’Brien’s modern classic, The Things They Carried, so brilliantly reflected the unromantic truth of war, America Fantastica puts a mirror to a nation and a time that has become dangerously unmoored from truth and greedy for delusion.
About this series
Our On America series brings writers, journalists, activists, and change-makers together to reflect on the critical issues of our times. Who are we and who are we becoming? How do the stories we tell shape who we are as a nation? Will we rise to the challenges we face?
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