Saturday, October 14 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: Jonathan Dee, author of The Locals

We are pleased to welcome Pulitzer finalist Jonathan Dee to our speaker series on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. to discuss his new, critically-acclaimed novel The Locals, which is set in the southern Berkshires.

In the nervous months after 9/11, a rural working-class New England town elects as its mayor a New York hedge fund millionaire, where he has the unchecked power to do everything from gutting the town’s tax base to personally installing security cameras on Main Street.  The Locals follows the residents of this formerly idyllic Berkshires community as they grow ever more disillusioned with civic duty and one another.  A broad-reaching novel with a large and cleverly drawn cast in the tradition of Jonathan Franzen, Tom Perrotta, and Jennifer Egan, The Locals brilliantly captures the dramas of the post-9/11 era—working class decline, fears of terrorism, and the rise of authoritarian government—culminating in one violent, irreversible event that will change the town forever.

Praise for The Locals:

“Engrossing… His blue-collar characters, each of them pursuing the American Dream, are vividly developed, and his insights into how they think about the government (ineffective and corrupt) and their rights as citizens (ignored, trampled) are timely…. Dee…handles the plot with admirable skill, finding empathy for his bewildered characters.  He creates tension as a reckoning day arrives, and strikes the perfect ending note.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Good old social novels are hard to come by these days, great ones harder still.  Leave it to [Jonathan] Dee to fill the void with a book that’s not only great but so frighteningly timely that the reader will be forced to wonder how he managed to compose it before the last election cycle….”
Booklist (Starred Review)

“The residents of a small town in the Berkshires have their world overturned by a billionaire in their midst.  This is a novel with political motives, so much so that it recalls The Fountainhead, except [Jonathan] Dee is a better writer than Ayn Rand by several orders of magnitude, and his point seems to be virtually the opposite of hers…. Plays both as political allegory and kaleidoscopic character study.  An absorbing panorama of small-town life and a study of democracy in miniature.”
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)


Photo by Jessica Marx

About the Author: Jonathan Dee is the author of seven novels, most recently A Thousand Pardons.  His novel The Privileges was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and winner of the 2011 Prix Fitzgerald and the St. Francis College Literary Prize.  A former contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, a senior editor of The Paris Review, and a National Magazine Award–nominated literary critic for Harper’s, he has received fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.  He lives in Syracuse, New York.


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