response to 9/11 and the war in Iraq the Homeland Security Act and the Patriot Act have endowed the government with
wide-ranging powers to investigate citizens lives in the name of fighting terrorism.
Many fear, however, that this new authority threatens to reignite the abuses of the
McCarthy era during the Cold War, when the reputations, careers, and civil liberties of
thousands of Americans and their families were swept away in a wave of patriotic hysteria.
her widely praised memoir-novel, The War at Home, Nora Eisenberg combined
great compassion, observation and humor to render the emotional and cultural complexities
of just such a family. In this timely new
novel, Eisenberg tells the story of Betsy Ross Vogel, daughter of the infamous Sam Vogel,
a self-styled American patriot and charismatic labor leader in the 1950s who,
refusing to sign a loyalty oath, runs afoul of the FBI and ends up running for the rest of
his life. At the heart of this novel matters of love, loyalty, and honesty burn with rare
intensity, as do alarming parallels to the politics of today. For then, as now, a
with us or against us standard sought to silence those who raised their voices
against government policy. And sadly, then, as now, children were left to face the
frightening repercussions of their parents political choices.
this bruising, funny and restless novel, Eisenberg examines the disfiguring legacies of
Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communist inquisition and supplies a probing meditation on the
disorderly world of a far-from-ordinary family, patiently weighing the question of who can
be held ultimately to account for their tribulations.
her second novel (after The War at Home), Eisenberg takes readers back to post-World War
II America, when McCarthyism was in full bloom [and presents] an achingly realistic
portrait of 1950s America
that strongly echoes today's political climate. Eisenberg presents fully realized
characters in prose endowed with beauty, grace, and compassion.
Library Journal (starred review)
of Eisenberg's liveliest writing
Familiar with the foibles and self-deceptions of
leftist circles, she portrays this milieu with a mixture of satire and affection.
Eisenberg has a sharp eye for the ways in which people manage to deceive themselves [and]
deftly portrays the drawbacks of a man so intent on serving his cause and demonstrating
his principles that he sacrifices the needs of his wife and children.
is a powerful motivator. Love of country can bind political and cultural factions into one
nation but also can be wielded to punish those who don't conform to majority views.
Idealism also has two sides. True believers will make great sacrifices for their cause,
but if their ideological purity devolves into single-minded stubbornness, friends and
family may be gravely hurt. In her timely new novel, "Just the Way You Want Me,"
Nora Eisenberg reminds us once again that wars of ideology incur collateral damage, and
that just as in shooting wars, it's often innocent women and children who are caught in
the line of fire.
weaves two distinct plot lines--the strength of familial ties and the insidious effects of
McCarthyism--into her vibrant and edifying second novel [an] often humorous odyssey
enlivened by the odd assortment of family and friends her protagonist meets along the
follows a woman as she searches for her fatherpresumed dead for 20 years
mystery here never overwhelms the charm of Betsys story, a comfortable balance
between seriousness and sweet-natured humor.
Eisenberg writes with an integrity, energy and social sense rare in contemporary American
fiction. With striking compassion and vision, she examines our past, to find values that
might guide us in a troubled present. A compelling new voice.
Eisenberg is one of our finest contemporary authors. With Just the Way You Want Me she
once again brings us her signature blend of dazzling prose, wild wit, and tremendous
humanity. This book is a triumph.
Dierbeck, Author of One Pill Makes You Smaller
Eisenbergs first novel, The
War at Home, was chosen a Washington
Post Book World
Book Rave of 2002 and won enthusiastic acclaim from critics nationwide. She is a Professor
of English at the City University of New York (La Guardia) and the co-author of four
influential text books on writing. Her short fiction and prose have appeared in The
Partisan Review, The Village Voice, Choice, Tikkun and The Los Angeles Times. She lives in Manhattan
216 Pages / 6 x 9