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Alan Brennert

Palisades Park

Alan Brennert Palisades Park
$12.59 New
 
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Biographical note:

ALAN BRENNERT grew up in Edgewater, New Jersey, at the foot of the Palisades. He won an Emmy Award in 1991 for his work as a writer-producer on  L.A. Law, and was nominated for two other Emmy Awards as well as a Golden Globe. He won a Nebula Award for his story “Ma Qui.” The author of the national bestsellers Moloka'i, a "Bookies" award–winner for Book Club Book of the Year, and Honolulu, winner of Elle's Lettres 2009 Grand Prix for Fiction, he lives in Sherman Oaks, California.

Excerpt from book:

1
 

Atlanta, Georgia, 1930
HOBOES CALLED THEM “side-door Pullmans,” empty boxcars with one door standing open like an unblinking eye—God’s eye, maybe, daring the brave or the desperate to trespass, knowing their journeys could end as easily in jail or in a hospital as in Chillicothe, Ohio, or Casper, Wyoming. Eddie took the dare and ran to the back platform, planting his foot in a metal stirrup and hoisting his six-foot frame up onto the ladder. But before he could step up to the second rung, he felt something grab hold of his shirt collar from behind and pull him, with a violent jerk, away from the car.
Eddie lost his grip and tumbled backward, landing on the ground with a jolt. As he lay there in the dust, stunned and winded, a boot came crashing down on his chest, knocking the remaining breath out of him. He opened his eyes to find a nasty-looking railroad bull glaring down at him.
“You ain’t goin’ nowhere, bud,” the bull declared.
The train whistled twice—a highball—signaling imminent departure.
Eddie held up his hands in surrender. “Okay,” he told the railroad cop, “you got me. Serves me right for being sloppy. But I can pay my way, all right? How much is a ticket to New York—fifteen bucks? I can pay.”
The bull’s eyes gleamed with interest. “Show me.”
The boxcar lurched forward as the train began chugging out of the station. Eddie had no doubts that this thug was going to steal all his money as a main course, then give him the beating of his life for dessert.
Eddie said, “Wallet’s in my rucksack. I dropped it over there.”
The bull, still keeping his foot on Eddie’s chest, reached down and picked up Eddie’s rucksack. He began to rummage through it for the wallet.
Eddie grabbed the man’s foot and yanked it out from under him. He toppled like a felled tree. Eddie scrambled to his feet, snapped up his rucksack. “Sonofabitch!” the bull yelled, but as he started to stand, Eddie jerked up his knee and connected with the bull’s chin. This hurt Eddie almost as much as it did the cop: he hoped the satisfying crack he heard was the bull’s jawbone breaking, not his own kneecap. The bull quickly crumpled.
Eddie made a run for a passing boxcar. His heart hammered as he ran to keep pace, threw his rucksack inside, then grabbed the door latch and pulled himself up and in. It wasn’t until he was safely aboard that he looked back, relieved to see the bull still beside the tracks, out cold.
Soon the car was rattling out of Inman Yards, one link in a long chain of rolling freight headed north. Eddie hadn’t lied: he had cash in his pocket for once and could have been eating roast chicken in a posh dining car instead of the bread and bologna in his rucksack. But it was early April and the weather was mild, and after three years of riding the rails, he had grown used to the percussion of the wheels reverberating deep inside him, even the coarse perfume of pine tar and creosote inside a boxcar.
But mostly he liked sitting near the open door, feeling the wind on his face, watching the countryside roll past without walls or windows between. At ni

“Brennert writes his valentine to the New Jersey playground of his youth in Ragtime style, mixing fact and fiction.  It’s a memorable trip.”
 —People Magazine
 
“Palisades Park is a perfect novel.  Alan Brennert does a spectacular job of laying out a family saga from 1922 to 1974... he gracefully conjures up a place and time that is no more."  —The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
 
"An epic journey through the life of a treasured amusement park, with a cast of characters who experience great wonders and tragedies."
—Lancaster (PA) Sunday News

"Brennert...creates a real emotional pull in his evocative description of the eccentric, hardworking people who made up the Palisades family in good times and in bad." —Publishers Weekly on Palisades Park

"This nostalgic coming-of-age tale of a little girl with big dreams is the perfect read."  —Library Journal on Palisades Park

“A literate, thoughtful saga….Brennert’s tale is a universal one [and] a pleasure to read.” —Kirkus Reviews on Palisades Park

"A sweeping, epic novel . . . beautifully told." —Library Journal (starred) on Honolulu

"A lush tale of ambition, sacrifice, and survival. . . . Immense . . . yet intimate."
—Booklist on Honolulu

“A dazzling historical saga.” —The Washington Post on Moloka'i

"A poignant story." —Los Angeles Times on Moloka'i

"A superb novel." –Los Angeles Daily News on Moloka'i


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