Award-Winning Author Achieves #1 Bestseller with Highly-Praised Debut Novel
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December 15, 2015, Reading, MA - When Ronn Howland left his secure post as an English teacher and administrator, he did not know his career would ricochet like this. He became a novelist. While he had experience as an editor in publishing an award-winning anthology, The Merrimack Literary Review, and had won awards as a poet, this was a sea-change.
Now, his debut novel, The Last American Novel, a #1 bestseller on Amazon, has garnered attention from such people as author and filmmaker Richard Farrell who is working with Howland to produce a feature film of the story that has captured the filmmaker’s imagination.
At first, The Last American Novel glides you along like a summer read - a mysterious visitor, a forbidden flirtation, a quiet curious death on a small Maine island, a traditional fishing village and burgeoning summer retreat for writers, artists, and agents of the ruling class. The narrator, Ian Sippsac, is a 20-year-old genius and the embodiment of his generation - restless, funny, offensive, and tender - a recent college graduate working on the island mail boat while weighing a future in a damaged world he might not be able to navigate but is determined to expose.
Ian becomes infatuated with a beautiful enigmatic 35-year-old, one of three editors on retreat to decide the final book to be published by a famed and dying American publishing house. When the celebrity daughter of the publisher drowns on the grounds of her summer estate, Ian is drawn into a murder investigation that reaches into the world of contemporary art, national politics, and international commerce before careening back into the buried secrets of his island home, his family's past, and his own identity.
One Amazon reviewer described The Last American Novel this way: “In addition to a great title, this book offers some terrific, elegant writing and a wonderful protagonist. The kind of writing you see here is the sign of a confident writer who understands the richness of language and how it can make a story soar. This author makes that kind of writing look easy -- but, of course, it's not. Howland's young protagonist is vulnerable, intelligent and engaging -- Ian is fascinating and delightful to follow as he tries to figure everything out.”
Ronn Howland, winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award and the Robert Frost Foundation Award, made a career as a public school educator, in Andover, Massachusetts, having taken to heart the classic William James notion of a moral equivalent to war. In 2011 he won a Genomics Poetry Prize from the University of Edinburgh. In 2003 he won First Place, Art in the Air Poetry Award, "Inventing the Invisible." He has published prose and poetry in numerous journals, including The Literary Review, The Best of Writers at Work, and Hawaii Review and even won what he deems "a totally useless Opus Magnum Screenplay Award at the Hollywood Film Festival."
After a career as an educator, and as practicing poet, why turn to the novel? “Too much of today’s art,” Howland says, “books, TV, movies, is a disservice, a particular disservice to the young.”
“The smallness and sameness of too many novels is the smallness and sameness that afflicts our culture overall — the relentless modern headlock — this outsourcing of human identity to ‘global’ convention, and it’s at the root of my young narrator’s perplexing (and, I hope, moving and funny) mental condition.”
One young reader said of the narrator. “This is our voice. Our generation. And it’s about time.”
The book is available in ebook format at Amazon.com.
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Phone number: 978 806 6678