“A Good American is a quixotic immigration tale wrapped in exquisite finery, from the opening promise of everlasting music, to the closing declaration that one’s own ordinary life is anything but ordinary. Don’t miss this new voice in American fiction.” —Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kansas
“Stunning, just stunning. Meet the Meisenheimer family through the eyes of grandson James as he relates the story of his immigrant family through nearly a century of American history. Peppered with remarkable characters: a jazz trumpeter who cooks a mean gumbo, a promiscuous school teacher, a dwarf… need I say more? You will laugh out loud, then cry your eyes out. This novel is priceless, and a gem of a read.” —Carol Katsoulis, Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, Illinois
An uplifting novel about the families we create and the places we call home.
It is 1904. When Frederick and Jette must flee her disapproving mother, where better to go than America, the land of the new? Originally set to board a boat to New York, at the last minute, they take one destined for New Orleans instead (“What’s the difference? They’re both new”), and later find themselves in the small town of Beatrice, Missouri. Not speaking a word of English, they embark on their new life together.
Beatrice is populated with unforgettable characters: a jazz trumpeter from the Big Easy who cooks a mean gumbo, a teenage boy trapped in the body of a giant, a pretty schoolteacher who helps the young men in town learn about a lot more than just music, a minister who believes he has witnessed the Second Coming of Christ, and a malevolent, bicycle-riding dwarf.
A Good American is narrated by Frederick and Jette’s grandson, James, who, in telling his ancestors’ story, comes to realize he doesn’t know his own story at all. Poignant, funny, and heartbreaking, A Good American is a novel about being an outsider—in your country, in your hometown, and sometimes even in your own family.
Alex George is an Englishman who lives, works, and writes in Missouri. He studied law at Oxford University and worked for eight years as a corporate lawyer in London and Paris before moving to the United States in 2003.