A small bomb goes off in a Manhattan office tower. Four days later, with no arrests and a city still on edge, Aidan Cole, a failed journalist-turned-blogger, opens an anonymous email to find a photograph of a young American woman. There is a chilling message: "This is Paige Roderick. She's the one responsible…."
His reporter's curiosity suddenly piqued, Aidan begins an unlikely journey into the dark soul of America - a story stretching from environmental radicals in the Smoky Mountains to a bomb factory in Vermont, from a wealthy enclave on Fishers Island to a safe house on the Lower East Side. An ominous play on recent U.S. history, AMERICAN SUBVERSIVE explores the connection between our collective apathy and the roots of insurrection. Paige and Aidan are two Americans who, like many of us, are grasping for a foothold in a culture-and a country-that's crumbling around them.
Beautifully written and relentlessly suspenseful, AMERICAN SUBVERSIVE is a cautionary tale with a culturally adroit, hyper-realistic, and bitingly humorous voice.
In Goodwillie s debut novel (after his memoir, Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time), an incisive depiction of radicalism s seductive roots, the central characters are a good girl gone bad and a would-be journalist turned blogger who wants to do good. Paige Roderick, laid off from her think tank job and devastated by the Iraq War death of her beloved brother, is an easy mark for a shadowy cabal of home-grown terrorists who recruit her from the ranks of weekend environmental warriors. Separately, Aidan Cole, a failed journalism student turned Manhattan gossip blogger, is drawn into her radical orbit (and into a romance) by a phantom from America s radical past: a former member of the Weather Underground. Part political thriller and part on-the-run love story, Goodwillie s glimpse of the lapsed idealism that might be fueling America s subversive underground falls somewhere between Bret Easton Ellis s Glamorama and John Updike s Terrorist. The mix of mocking the jaded hip the Gawker-like blogging empire that Aidan works for serves as a frequent punching bag and exploring cultural and social unrest results in a comic and unsettling two-pronged dissection of a subset of contemporary America.