Cover image for The patricide of George Benjamin Hill : a novel / James Charlesworth.
Title:
The patricide of George Benjamin Hill : a novel / James Charlesworth.
ISBN:
9781510731790
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Skyhorse Publishing, [2019]
Physical Description:
354 pages ; 24 cm
Abstract:
"From a powerful new literary voice, a sweeping epic of one family and the destructive power of the American Dream All their lives, the children of George Benjamin Hill have fought to escape the shadow of their father, a dust-bowl orphan, self-made millionaire in bedrock American capitalism (fast food and oil), and destroyer of two families on his way to financial success. Now, they are approaching middle age and ruin: A failed ex-minor league ballplayer, divorced and mourning the death of his daughter in Miami; a self-proclaimed CIA veteran, off his meds and deciphering conspiracies in Manhattan; a Las Vegas showgirl turned old maid of The Strip, trying to stay clean; and an Alaskan bush pilot, twice un-indicted for manslaughter and recently thrown off his land by the federal government. While their father takes his place at the center of a national scandal, these estranged siblings find themselves drawn from their four corners of the country, compelled along crowded interstates by resentment and confusion, converging on a 300-acre horse ranch outside Omaha for a final confrontation with the father they never had. Migrating from the suburban anonymity of 1950s San Bernardino, to the frozen end of the world (Alaska circa 1976), and concluding in the background of one of the most horrifying moments in American history, The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill spans seventy years of life in America, from the Great Depression to the age of corporate greed and terrorism. It is a literary suspense novel about the decline and consequence of patriarchal society. It is also an intricate family saga of aspiration and betrayal"-- Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

**ONE OF POPSUGAR'S "10 BOOKS BY DEBUT AUTHORS TO WATCH IN 2019"**

From a powerful new literary voice, a sweeping epic of one family and the destructive power of the American Dream

All their lives, the children of George Benjamin Hill have fought to escape the shadow of their father, a dust-bowl orphan, self-made millionaire in bedrock American capitalism (fast food and oil), and destroyer of two families on his way to financial success.

Now, they are approaching middle age and ruin: A failed ex-minor league ballplayer, divorced and mourning the death of his daughter in Miami; a self-proclaimed CIA veteran, off his meds and deciphering conspiracies in Manhattan; a Las Vegas showgirl turned old maid of The Strip, trying to stay clean; and an Alaskan bush pilot, twice un-indicted for manslaughter and recently thrown off his land by the federal government.

While their father takes his place at the center of a national scandal, these estranged siblings find themselves drawn from their four corners of the country, compelled along crowded interstates by resentment and confusion, converging on a 300-acre horse ranch outside Omaha for a final confrontation with the father they never had.

Migrating from the suburban anonymity of 1950s San Bernardino, to the frozen end of the world (Alaska circa 1976), and concluding in the background of one of the most horrifying moments in American history, The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill spans seventy years of life in America, from the Great Depression to the age of corporate greed and terrorism. It is a literary suspense novel about the decline and consequence of patriarchal society. It is also an intricate family saga of aspiration and betrayal.


Author Notes

James Charlesworth grew up in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and attended college at Penn State in State College, PA.. He is a recipient of the Martin Dibner Fellowship from the Maine Community Foundation and an MFA from Emerson College. He lives north of Boston and is at work on his second book. The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill is his first novel.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This sprawling, underwhelming debut from Charlesworth follows four grown children of an American billionaire as they hurtle toward an unorthodox reunion. Oil and fast food magnate George Benjamin Hill has two children from a first marriage-GB and Jamie-and two from a second-twins Max and Maddie. It's been two decades since last contact with their unloving father, and now GB is a failed minor league baseball player living in Miami; Jamie spouts conspiracy theories on the streets of New York City, off his meds and struggling to decipher memory from delusion; Max lives a solitary life as a pilot in Alaska; and Maddie is a former Vegas showgirl trying to stay sober. After Max is inspired to gather his siblings during the aftermath of the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001, they plan a reunion intended to help them find closure with their troubled childhoods. Although the plot speeds toward this climactic reckoning, the novel suffers from muddled timelines and excess exposition. Charlesworth spends much effort establishing George Benjamin Hill as a symbol of American capitalism run amok-heading companies similar to McDonald's, ExxonMobil, and Enron-but never delves into his psychology or early personal history to make him more than a foil to his children. Charlesworth's debut has an intriguing concept marred by a hasty, underdeveloped plot. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


New York Review of Books Review

The potential murder victim at the center of Charlesworth's novel is the sort of bruising paterfamilias who once might have skulked around the novels of John O'Hara (minus the pedigree), an up-from-nothing entrepreneur whose vast fortune is amassed with a wanton disregard for kith and kin. The multigenerational trauma incurred by this oil-and-fast-food magnate's neglect is impressive: a first wife institutionalized after a bungled suicide attempt, a middleaged son looping in place over his failed play for baseball glory, another son wigging out with paranoia and delusions, a drug-addicted ragamuffin daughter whose most dignified gig is working as a serving wench in a Las Vegas Tournament of Kings show. And don't forget the fatally addicted granddaughter and the son who's implicated in the violent deaths of several men. Hill's broken brood gravitate toward lower-depths locales like swine to pigsties. We're invited to follow them into excrement-redolent holding cells at Rikers Island, cramped Hell's Kitchen halfway houses, the "darkest, most sorrowintensifying" New York bars and the sin districts of Fairbanks, Alaska, "a place of almost caricatured debauchery." Throw in J.F.K.'s assassination, 9/11 and grim Vietnam fantasias and you have a feverishly overwrought wallow that teeters risibly close to death-of-American-dream porn. At best, there's a weird integrity to Charlesworth's melodramatic vision. But even devotees of the downbeat may be tripped up by the author's penchant for numbingly repetitive clauses that seem like syntactic declarations of war on readers.