- 288 Pages
- March 5, 2024
- ISBN: 9781956763980
- Trim Size: 6in x 9in x 0in
A moving novel about the devotions of friendship and the power of love to heal, American Sycamore celebrates the American experiment and the importance of giving a damn.
Friends for most of their lives, Rob, Julia, and Ray are boomers who set out in their twenties to make things right in America. A couple since law school, Rob is a distinguished Constitutional scholar at Harvard and Julia a prominent journalist writing a book about the wreckage of the nation’s political life, while Ray serves as dean of the medical school. Ray’s work as a physician in a Vietnam combat zone left him scarred yet with a powerful and loving commitment to heal and to support his friends through tragedy. Together, they’ve accomplished things that matter—in the public square and in medicine.
Yet, in contemporary America, they still have some hard lessons to learn. After the New York Times publication of the 1619 Project, Rob finds himself out of step with critics and his students, but his and Julia’s secure world is truly shaken by a diagnosis of prostate cancer that will require medical intervention—releasing memories of another time when their lives were turned upside down. Meanwhile, when Ray learns that the hospital and school he has devoted his life to may have betrayed patients and the medical community, he must choose whether to take up again a fight he has waged all his life against the worst impulses of big institutions.
"With American Sycamore Charles Kenney has given us a deeply moving and engrossing story about life in America today. His portrait of Rob and Julia Barrow and their closest friend, Dr. Ray Witter, is flawless, and Kenney seamlessly navigates us through their losses, tears, and triumphs, through the obstacles of living with cancer, dealing and dueling with academic ‘wokeism,’ and a decades-old case of medical malpractice. The rewards are in reading this treasure of a novel.”—Mike Barnicle
“A profound chronicle of our time. It is also an exquisite rendering of hope and the invincible power of love between husband and wife, even in the face of unthinkable personal tragedy.”—Barbara Delinsky, New York Times bestselling author
“Wonderful and especially apt for these times, American Sycamore celebrates resilience, humanity, and grace. Let’s hope this novel is widely read and that its generosity of spirt is highly contagious.”—Bob Kerrey, former US Senator, Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient
“Profoundly moving. With this deeply personal novel Kenney delivers an unflinching and unforgettable love story.”—Deborah Kosofsky, Senior Producer, Today
“In American Sycamore, Charles Kenney pulls off a feat few novelists attempt and even fewer achieve. He tells a remarkably powerful story tightly focused on three characters––a married couple and their best friend, as one of them battles cancer––and simultaneously unfolds a much more sweeping saga that vividly captures the current historical moment as a generation faces its reckoning. This is storytelling operating on all cylinders. I found American Sycamore hard to put down; and for weeks afterward, impossible to forget.”—Dayton Duncan, author and filmmaker