Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Hartsburg, USA"

David Mizner is the author of two novels, Political Animal and the recently released Hartsburg, USA.

He applied the Page 69 Test to the new novel and reported the following:
Asked to do this post, I hoped that Page 69 of my book contained some writerly writing, one of those going-for-it, poetic passages that writers craft with block quotes in mind. (Oh, is that just me? Never mind.) Alas, my 69 has none of that; it’s a understated section. It’s important, though, in that it depicts the domestic life that Bevy both loves and tries to transcend by running for school board.

Hartsburg USA is told from the alternating perspectives of the two candidates: Bevy, a conservative Christian, and Wally, a secular liberal. While the campaign provides the book’s structure and much of it tension, most page-time is spent tracking the candidates’ nonpolitical lives. Wally is absent on 69. It’s all Bevy, taking care of her twins and their friend, searching for a Band-Aid for the friend's bleeding finger, calling her mother-in-law to ask her to bring over a Band Aid, facing the judgment of the friend's mother when she comes to pick him up.

Bevy’s insecurity about her mothering and housekeeping is on display, her fear of judgment by both her mother-in-law and Marybeth, the mother of her sons’ friend. But when Marybeth shows up, the judgment goes both ways. Though devout and committed to church life, Bevy isn't entirely at home among her fellow churchgoers. She'd come to God after a life of rebellion and a trace of the rebel remains. 69, I think, hints at her loneliness, a product of the lack of intimacy in his life and also her need to stand apart.
Read an excerpt from the novel, and learn more about the book and author at David Mizner's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue