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Thursday, February 6, 2014

All the Dead Yale Men

Craig Nova, Class of 1949 Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at UNCG and one of "the best American novelists" according to John Irving, recently published All the Dead Yale Men, the greatly anticipated follow-up to his critically acclaimed 1982 novel The Good Son.  His earlier novel recounts the story of World War II veteran Chip Mckinnon and his tenuous relationship with his socially ambitious father.  "Pop" Mckinnon compels his son to forsake his true love in order to marry well and persuades him to pursue an Ivy League education and a career in law.

All the Dead Yale Men rejoins the Mckinnon clan a generation later, with Frank Mckinnon, Chip's son, and his brilliant daughter Pia.  Frank is a happily married criminal prosecutor in Boston, and his daughter Pia is poised to enter Harvard law school, following in both her grandfather and her father's footsteps.  However, Frank's vision for his daughter's life (and his own by association) is jeopardized when Pia contemplates abandoning her career aspirations for a local ne'er do well.  Both novels examine parental expectations and ambitions for their children and the lengths that a parent will go in order to preserve them. 

All the Dead Yale Men is a "gripping and intelligent chronicle of love, legacy, and betrayal (the title may suggest a genre mystery, which this surely isn’t).  [It] captures a complex clan entangled in a questionable moral universe. Nova’s Mackinnons, both here and in The Good Son, leave their edgy mark on the modern American literary landscape" (Mark Levine, Booklist).

 “Craig Nova is a fine writer, one of our best.  If you haven’t read him, the loss is yours."  (Jonathan Yardley, book critic for the Washington Post)

Nova's writing has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, and Men's Journal, among others. He has received an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2005 he was named Class of 1949 Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

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