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The Resource American pop : a novel, Snowden Wright

American pop : a novel, Snowden Wright

Label
American pop : a novel
Title
American pop
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Snowden Wright
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"Moving from Mississippi to Paris to New York and back again, an epic saga of family, ambition, passion, and tragedy that brings to life one unforgettable Southern dynasty - the Forsters, founders of the world's first major soft-drink company - against the backdrop of more than a century of American cultural history"--
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Wright (Play Pretty Blues) follows three generations of a wealthy family riddled with secrets in his sweeping yet intimate historical novel. Houghton Forster launches a commercial empire in early 20th-century Mississippi with his soft drink, PanCola. Its success puts immense pressure on the family to live up to its station. Houghton’s oldest son, Montgomery, returns from WWI to pursue a political career but harbors emotional wounds over the death of his male lover. The second son, Harold, outlives the clan and runs a ramshackle museum after the family’s fortune fails. The youngest are fraternal twins: thoughtlessly cruel Lance, and Ramsey, who pursues an affair in Paris with singer Josephine Baker after her disappointing marriage to a Hollywood executive. The final generation includes Montgomery’s ambitious daughter Imogene, who uses a wheelchair due to polio and attempts to salvage the company after her brother’s poor business choices. Wright’s nonchronological zipping between characters creates a complex, engaging mosaic leavened with wry humor. Real and imagined scholarly citations provide context, and a subplot about the soda’s secret ingredient offers intrigue. This smart and tragic exploration of American history will make a splash among fans of family sagas. Agent: Eve Attermann, WME Entertainment. (Feb.) --Staff (Reviewed 12/03/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 49, p)
  • "Southerners are only as good as their ability to tell a story," declares this novel's unnamed third-person narrator. Judging by the effervescent and poignant multigenerational family drama as recounted here, Mississippi-born Wright is one excellent Southerner. As in his award-winning debut novel, Play Pretty Blues, the author uses an unorthodox nonlinear narrative style to trace the rise and fall of the Forsters and their soft drink empire, the Panola Cola Company. Founder Houghton Forster, the son of Scottish immigrants, and his Southern aristocratic wife, Annabel, raise their children with the expectation that they, too, will make their mark upon the world. However, eldest son Montgomery is haunted by his lost love, Nicholas is killed during the Great War, fraternal twins Ramsey and Lance show little interest in their inheritance, and gentle Harold is slowed by a mental disability. Ultimately, Houghton's decision to leave Panola Cola to spoiled grandson Nicholas leads to ruin. VERDICT Wealthy white families in decline are a staple of Southern fiction, but Wright spins this familiar tale with a fresh exuberance and flair that will engage fans of Nancy Lemann and James Wilcox despite one-too-many narrative digressions and some skimpy characterization. [See Prepub Alert, 7/31/18.] --Wilda Williams (Reviewed Winter2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 21, p74)
  • The rise and fall of a fictitious cola empire and its founding family. Perhaps the only throughline in Wright's (Play Pretty Blues, 2013) chaotic second novel is the mystery of the secret ingredient in Panola Cola, aka PanCola, formulated by Mississippi pharmacist Houghton Forster, the only son of Scottish immigrants. Unfortunately, no one knows who, among three generations of PanCola heirs and heiresses, inherited PanCola's exact recipe. The significance of "the secret" is gainsaid, however, by factories' continuing to churn out a product which holds its own against Coke and Pepsi. Houghton's offspring—Montgomery, the oldest; daughter Ramsey; her fraternal twin, Lance; and Harold, who seems to be on the autism spectrum—have little to do with the family business. Only Monty's children, Imogene, disabled by polio, and her reckless brother, Nicholas, have ambitions for PanCola, but for some reason, inexplicable to both her and readers, Imogene is disinherited. From the 19th century through the 1970s, the Forsters gain and lose a fortune. The "Malediction" accidentally called down by the Forster matriarch, Fiona, on her descendants is mostly treated as an afterthought until, suddenly and belatedly, it's not. The plot's discontinuity is aggravated by an insouciant disregard for chronology. An arch, omniscient authorial voice dips into multiple psyches, and here Wright almost succeeds in holding our interest. Ramsey and her exploits in Paris as the lover of Josephine Baker, Lance's unfortunate introduction to hunting, Montgomery's gay love affair as a teenage World War I doughboy and his forays into politics, and Harold, the bellwether child of family trauma, all engage us emotionally, as do minor characters like the family factotum and fixer, Branchwater. The language is replete with irony and recognizably Southern witticisms, e.g., "Sarah...was constantly saying she was at her ‘wit's end' despite the obvious lack of a beginning." Flashbacks and flash-forwards abound, and often, on the verge of a crucial revelation, the action digresses along some anecdotal path, never to return. Too much exposition is not the problem here—it's too little relevant information. (Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2018)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10755056
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1981-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Wright, Snowden
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3623.R5648
LC item number
A85 2019
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Family-owned business enterprises
  • Rich people
  • Families
Target audience
adult
Label
American pop : a novel, Snowden Wright
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
386 pages
Isbn
9780062697745
Lccn
2018032678
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • on1083671154
  • (OCoLC)1083671154
Label
American pop : a novel, Snowden Wright
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
386 pages
Isbn
9780062697745
Lccn
2018032678
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • on1083671154
  • (OCoLC)1083671154

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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