Over the years, friends and relatives have allowed me to read their books and screenplays before they were available to the public. As you can imagine, these manuscripts have ranged from dull to decent to quite good. Afterwards I always send back notes on how the work can be improved. Many writers ask for this type of feedback. It’s like a business testing out a new product or a stand-up comedian workshopping new material. It’s essential to the writing process. I’m writing my first book now, and I’ll definitely share it with a few folks before I take it to market.
My brother Daniel Donatelli let me read his new novel, which he is currently in the process of finishing. He’s my brother, so you might expect me to say this book is good. But that’s not how I work with Dan. I’ve vowed to myself to always tell it to him straight, because mollycoddling him won’t help him become a great writer. So when I think his work falls flat, I tell him. And when his work is superlative, well, I tell you.
Dan’s latest novel is one of the best I’ve read in years. And more than that, it’s an important book. I know that sounds pretentious. But when a book deftly blends philosophy, politics, love, action, hope and despair and offers a scathing critique of the times we live in and is a pleasure to read in the moment and compels you to think about it later – that qualifies it as an important book.
I won’t spoil the fun by telling you the title, theme or plot, but I will tease you with this: If you’ve been paying attention to the news, and you’re worried about the direction this country is headed, this book will resonate with you.
Wish I could say more.
I’ll let everyone know when it comes out.
UPDATE (11/5/13): The Great Anti-American Novel is now available on Amazon.
UPDATE (11/14/13): Interview with Dave Stieren on KFQD