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A changed man : a novel
Francine Prose
Adult Fiction PROSE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Prose (Blue Angel; The Lives of the Muses) tests assumptions about class, hatred and the possibility of change in her latest novel, a good-natured satire of liberal pieties, the radical right and the fund-raising world. The "changed man" of the title is Vincent Nolan, a 32-year-old tattooed ex-skinhead who appears one morning in the New York offices of World Brotherhood Watch, a foundation headed by Meyer Maslow, a Holocaust survivor. Vincent declares that he has had a personal conversion (never mind that it was triggered by a heavy dose of Ecstasy) and wants to work with the foundation to "save guys like me from becoming guys like me." Meyer takes Vincent on faith-and convinces Bonnie Kalen, the foundation's fund-raiser, to put Vincent up in the suburban home she shares with her two sons, Max, 12, and Danny, 16. Prose tears into this unusual premise with the piercing wit that has become her trademark. Vincent becomes a media darling of sorts, and everyone wants a piece of him: the liberal donors and the television talk shows; Meyer, a figurehead so celebrated that even his close friends kiss up to him; and maybe even divorced Bonnie, who finds herself drawn to Vincent's charms. In more hostile pursuit of Vincent is his cousin Raymond, a member of the Aryan Resistance Movement, from which Vincent stole a truck, drugs and cash. In these circumstances, can a man truly change? And what is change-not only for Vincent but for the other principals as well? Prose doesn't shy away from exposing the vanities and banalities behind the drive to do good. Fortunately, her characters are sturdy enough to bear the weight of the baggage she piles on them. Her lively skewering of a whole cross-section of society ensures that this tale hits comic high notes even as it probes serious issues. Agent, Denise Shannon. (Mar. 3) Forecast: A Changed Man is less didactic than Blue Angel and is set on a broader stage, which should broaden its appeal, too. Six-city author tour. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Young neo-Nazi Vincent Nolan is on the run from fellow gang members of ARM-the American Rights Movement, a.k.a. the Aryan Resistance Movement. He's also starting to question his beliefs. So he walks into the New York City headquarters of World Brotherhood Watch, an international human rights organization, and volunteers to work with them. Not surprisingly, organization head Meyer Maslow, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, is suspicious-even if Vincent has read all of his books. But he relents, sending Vincent home with assistant Bonnie Kalen, a single mom with teenage sons. One might expect the story to highlight the consequences of Vincent's startling change of heart, and Prose (Household Saints) does show scenes like Vincent's giving a speech that turns out badly-all handled (somewhat inappropriately) with light humor. But the novel is concerned mostly with the challenges that Bonnie faces: raising her sons, working too hard, feeling guilty, and trying to understand Vincent, who has become part of the family. Bonnie is well portrayed and lifelike, but Vincent is not-he's more a construct than a character. As a result, the novel feels sidetracked, and though any new work by the award-winning Prose will attract readers, this one is frankly not all that interesting. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/04.]-Jim Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Vincent Nolan
Male
Age: 32
Neo-Nazi; wants to renounce his former way of life.

Meyer Maslow
Male
Jewish
Human rights activist.
Writer

Bonnie Kalen
Female
Divorced
Meyer's assistant.
Assistant



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