He’s a big man, my granddad, not necessarilyin size or proportion, but in other ways, like the manner in which he lives. The trouble in which he finds himself. The magic that heconjures and the spectacular things he believes.
When he was a younger man, Alistair McPhee was fond of escaping in his ’56 Chevy Bel Air, Lucy, named for the cherished wife who died and left him and their nine-year-old son Colin behind. Yearning for a way to connect to his itinerant father, Colin turned to writing screenplays inspired by the classic films they used to watch together, while Colin’s own son, Finn, grew up listening to his grandfather spin tales of danger, heartbreak, and redemption on the road.
Now, at the end of his life and wishing to feel the wind in his hair one last time, Alistair charges his grandson with a task: bring Lucy to him in San Francisco from New York, where a man named Yip has been keeping her safe. The long road west will lead Finn, accompanied by his disgruntled friend Randal and an ancient three-legged orange cat named Mrs. Dalloway, through the very cities that supposedly bore witness to Alistair’s greatest adventures, offering an unlikely lesson in the differences between facts and truth, between boys and men.
Driver’s Education is at once a literary adventure and a finely detailed family portrait, combining in a bold declaration of Grant Ginder’s outstanding storytelling gifts.
Alistair McPhee asks his grandson Finn to bring his beloved '56 Chevy Bel Air, named after his long-dead wife, Lucy, from New York to San Francisco so he can have one last drive before he dies. Finn, a TV reality show editor and a fabulist like his grandfather, re-enacts his grandfather's exploits of daring, adventure, and romance by following a map of Alistair's cross-country trips with his friend Randal and the ornery cat, Mrs. Dalloway, along for the ride. Alistair, meanwhile, is looked after by his son, Finn's father, Colin, a screenwriter whose 15 minutes have faded, and whose memories of Alistair are not as rosy as Finn's. Alternating with the journey are Colin's explorations of childhood moments bonding with his father, the movies, his mother's tragic death, and other pieces of his past. Part fairy tale, part picaresque, part coming-of-age tale, this second novel from Ginder (after This Is How It Starts) blends reality and the imagined in a sentimental brew about the stories that bind generations. Though the ambitious structure is undercut by the indistinct voices of Colin and Finn, Ginder has crafted a memorable and amusing story about storytelling with enough irony to cut through the syrup of sentiment.