American Meteor

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UPC: 9781934137949
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Author: Norman Lock
  • Series: The American Novels
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press (June 9, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934137944
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934137949
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches

In this panoramic tale of Manifest Destiny, Stephen Moran comes of age with the young country that he crosses on the Union Pacific, just as the railroad unites the continent. Propelled westward from his Brooklyn neighborhood and the killing fields of the Civil War to the Battle of Little Big Horn, he befriends Walt Whitman, receives a medal from General Grant, becomes a bugler on President Lincoln’s funeral train, goes to work for railroad mogul Thomas Durant, apprentices with frontier photographer William Henry Jackson, and stalks General George Custer. When he comes face-to-face with Crazy Horse, his life will be spared but his dreams haunted for the rest of his days.

By turns elegiac and comic, American Meteor is a novel of adventure, ideas, and mourning: a unique vision of America’s fabulous and murderous history. 


Praise for American Meteor

Firecracker Award Finalist
Publishers Weekly “Book of the Year” selection
Bustle “11 Books to Read if You Hope The Revenant Wins [an Oscar]” selection
LitReactor “8 Raw Westerns to Read” selection
Library Journal “BookExpo America Book That Buzzed” selection

“Sheds brilliant light along the meteoric path of American westward expansion. . . . [A] pithy, compact beautifully conducted version of the American Dream, from its portrait of the young wounded soldier in the beginning to its powerful rendering of Crazy Horse's prophecy for life on earth at the end.” —NPR

“In Norman Lock’s recent novel The Boy in His Winter the author set Huck Finn and the escaped slave Jim on a fantastical voyage down the Mississippi River through three centuries of American history—and clear into the future. Far from a sequel to Twain’s classic, that book was an intensely personal contemplation of themes such as racial injustice and environmental degradation. With his new novel, American Meteor, Mr. Lock elaborates these ideas in another disturbing meditation on our national past. . . . . Like all Mr. Lock’s books, this is an ambitious work, where ideas crowd together on the page like desperate men on a battlefield.” —Wall Street Journal

“For a young country, the United States has had a violent and complicated history, one that is brilliantly brought to life by Norman Lock’s American Meteor. An enthralling coming-of-age story that also follows the tale of Manifest Destiny, American Meteor makes history as interesting as the year’s biggest blockbusters.” —Bustle

“[American Meteor] is not only a history lesson but also a reading pleasure.” —Historical Novels Review

“Like the western sky, American Meteor stretches to the horizon in all directions. . . . A lovely panorama to behold.” —New York Journal of Books

“Lovely, burnished prose.” —Small Press Book Review

American Meteor is at its heart a frontier yarn of adventure and discovery, insight and yearning [for] readers who savor the well-turned phrase and those who demand a little swash with their buckle.” —Four Corners Free Press

American Meteor is a fascinating, prophetic contribution to recent historical fiction, and Lock is plainly an author well worth our attention.” —Monkeybicycle

“An adventure tale that practically bleeds Americana. . . . For fans of Little Big Man, this might be the book you didn’t know you were waiting for.” —LitReactor
American Meteor is, at its core, a spiritual treatise that forces its readers to examine their own role in history’s unceasing march forward [and] casts new and lyrical light on our nation’s violent past.” —Shelf Awareness for Readers (starred review)

“[American Meteor] feels like a campfire story, an old-fashioned yarn full of rich historical detail about hard-earned lessons and learning to do right.” —Publishers Weekly(starred review)

“Memorably encompasses grand themes and notions of transcendence without ever losing sight of the grit and moral horrors present in the period.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Rather like Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man. . . . [Lock] writes beautifully, with many subtle, complex insights.” —Booklist

“Successfully blends beautiful language reminiscent of 19th-century prose with cynicism and bald, ugly truth.” —Library Journal

About the Author

Norman Lock is the award-winning author of novels, short fiction, and poetry, as well as stage, radio, and screenplays. He has won The Dactyl Foundation Literary Fiction Award, The Paris Review Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, and writing fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lock’s recent works of fiction include the short story collection Love Among the Particles, a Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year, and three books in The American Novels series: The Boy in His Winter, a re-envisioning of Mark Twain’s classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that Scott Simon of NPR’s Weekend Edition hailed for “make[ing] Huck and Jim so real you expect to get messages from them on your iPhone;” American Meteor, an homage to Walt Whitman and William Henry Jackson named a Firecracker Award finalist and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year; and The Port-Wine Stain, a “mesmerizingly twisted, richly layered.” (New York Times Book Review) homage to Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Dent Mütter.

Lock lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey, where he is at work on the next books of The American Novels series: A Fugitive in Walden Woods, his homage to Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wreckage of Eden, his homage to Emily Dickinson, and Feast Day of the Cannibals, his homage to Herman Melville.