Dominick is always just passing through. He is a professional houseguest who follows the sun and the leisure class from resort to resort. But this winter he lingers on a quaint New England island and in spite of his best intentions becomes involved in the travails of his eccentric geriatric hosts. An environmental protest against a proposed liquid natural gas terminal turns ugly, and by accident and happenstance Dominick becomes a mistaken suspect in terroristic bombings. But the book, of course, is really about its characters. None of them are young—white-bearded men and blue-coiffed women busy with aging, dementia, and ungrateful children. Dominick strives to float above it all in a life of itinerant escape. A New England comedy of sorts, New Jerusalem News, on another level, is an extended meditation on history, identity, and what it means to drift.
I received a free copy of the audiobook for an honest review.
New Jerusalem News is a different kind of book. It’s about a drifter who lives off of the guilt money from his deceased, always absent, father. He has many friends and is a professional houseguest. When he starts to feel like a burden, or starts to get too close, or gets bored, he moves on.
The characters are well developed. They are older, dealing with the problems of the elderly, whether it is their health, their memory, or their children. I liked how complex they are. For example, Dominick tells himself that he won’t get too close to anyone, but every time he decides to leave, something comes up and he has to help someone out. He also has some interesting thoughts about sex. Another example is Lydia. She loves her husband and is usually pleasant to everyone, but she can’t stand her twin daughters.
The narrator had a clear voice that was easy to understand. He did fairly well at the different voices.
Although the FBI and ICE show up and Dominick is considered a suspect in possible terrorist attacks, New Jerusalem News isn’t suspenseful like you would think. It’s interesting, even includes a little history, and is often funny. It did get a little slow at times, but I enjoyed it overall.
Originally from Buffalo, New York, John Enright holds a bachelor’s degree in literature from the City College of New York and a master’s degree in folklore from the University of California, Berkeley. After working in magazine journalism and book publishing, he left the U.S. to teach at the American Samoa Community College. He remained in the South Pacific for 26 years, directing environmental, cultural, and historical preservation programs and writing extensively about the islands. His acclaimed detective series, Jungle Beat (Thomas & Mercer), featuring Det. Sgt. Apelu Soifua, is set in Samoa. His collection of poems about Samoa, 14 Degrees South, won the University of the South Pacific Press’s inaugural Literature Prize for Poetry in 2011. He now lives in Jamestown, Rhode Island, with his wife, ceramicist Connie Payne.
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