In this lively coming-of-age novel, young Danny Meyer lays bare a landscape of illness and despair but emerges triumphant, with a new awareness of the limitations of security and the lessons of eternity. Danny's bubble-like existence in paradisal Madison is broken when his father, a concert pianist and professor, is stricken with illness and must give up his professorship. The family is forced to move to Milwaukee to live at the brink of poverty while his father gets sicker, his artistic mother struggles as bread-winner, and his brother becomes delusional. Here, Danny finds himself in the uncertain position of having to accept the responsibilities of manhood while still struggling with adolescence. In a world that keeps shifting, Danny befriends the son of a gangster and, through his brushes with that compelling world of crime, finds his way to a new confidence. Realistically portrayed, A Friend of Kissinger captures an authentic sense of place that is one part arty, heartland Main Street and one part shady, small-time gangsterland.
David Milofsky is professor of English at Colorado State University, where he directs the Center for Literary Publishing and edits the Colorado Review. He is the author of the novels Playing from Memory, Eternal People, and Color of Law.