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The Book of Reading, by Eric Larsen

Can words, poems, books—if used correctly—save the American republic? If you ask the gifted, beautiful Eveline Stahl, the answer is yes, absolutely. For Eveline, literature and words not only connect all things to one another, but they create invisible bands that surround Earth and protect it from harm.

Though born far apart—she in 1909, he in 1941—Eveline Stahl and Malcolm Reiner are destined to meet, fall in love, and then to try to save the nation. When? Autumn 1933. Where? Iowa City, Iowa, where both are graduate students. Their plan? To go on the long walk into September 1947 and West Tree, Minnesota, where they try 1) to forestall the formation of the CIA and the start of the Cold War; 2) thereby to prevent the 1963 assassination of JFK; and thus 3) avoid the long decline of the nation into tyranny—a later and grievous outcome, nevertheless, that is watched, in 2028, from a window of his New York apartment, by an aged, defeated, lonely Malcolm Reiner, after finishing a book—this book—about his beloved and lost Eveline.

From prize-winning novelist Eric Larsen, The Book of Reading is a timely, literary, patriotic—and deeply moving—novel.

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