Selected as a New York Times "Notable Book of the Year," DUCK AND COVER is a "wicked black comedy" of a family who fights their wars "on the home front." As one of the MacKenzie children says, "The way nuclear families are put together, it just makes sense they would explode."
In this "bittersweet and utterly beguiling novel," (Publisher's Weekly) each of the MacKenzie family tells their stories in nine, wildly opposed points of view. Starting at a family reunion, three generations of the MacKenzies face off against each other. They discover that terrorism is as intimate as one’s own family.
“My family has practiced the end of the world more than most,” begins this novel. From the CIA mother to the diplomat father, the fighter jet brother to the trauma nurse and psychologist sisters; from political to heated religious battles; from hurricanes to love affairs to End Times raptures -- the high-voltage MacKenzies are always breaking up and coming back together again. Like all families.
The Los Angeles Times praises Peterson as “a hauntingly funny writer . . . the balance she strikes is almost hypnotic.”
Always in motion, meeting one another clandestinely and cross-country, the MacKenzies mirror the growing up of generations raised to duck and cover – against both a nuclear age and family. An eerily prescient novel, DUCK AND COVER is a timeless story of family bonds and discovering that “our only civil defense is ourselves.”
“Peterson would seem to hold out just about as much hope for the family as she does the planet,” concludes The New York Times.
“The eccentric MacKenzies are a triumph of warmth, problems, complexity, and their concerns are so truly of our time . . . delightful and absorbing.”’
~ Diane Johnson, author Le Divorce
From the highly acclaimed author of I Want To Be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth, which The Christian Science Monitor named as a “Best Top Ten Non-Fiction Book of the Year.”
For more on this author and her many other books: www.IWantToBeLeftBehind.com
Meet the MacKenzies: Dad, a dedicated career diplomat; Mom, a Bible-thumping CIA operative; son Davy, a gung-ho fighter pilot nicknamed Rocket Man; and daughters Tia, a trauma nurse married to a survivalist/heart surgeon, and Sydney, a psychologist given on-the-job training by her own off-center family. Narrated in the perfectly cadenced voices of nine different members of the clan (including kid's-eye views of two grandchildren), Peterson's bittersweert and utterly beguiling novel looks back at the MacKenzies during the fallout-sheltered, duck-and-cover air-raid days of the Cold War '50s. She follows them through Dad's embassy postings in various Latin American hot spots and into the present era of detente, although adulthood for the three siblings does not, alas, lead to disarmament. Bullied by their domineering, self-righteous mother, at odds with their respective spouses, each of them is more deeply concerned with the quest for inner peace than with the pursuit of world order. Sydney, Tia and Davy ultimately discover that life in the shadow of Armageddon requires looking up and facing front rather than ducking down. ``It takes a nuclear family to live in our nuclear age,'' observes one of the grandchildren's teachers. So the endearing, abiding MacKenzie kids prove.