As a young man, John Reynolds fled the rural dead-end of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for Los Angeles, lured by the promise of a life fueled by the excitement and creativity of show business. But as a 47-year-old entertainment lawyer in Hollywood, Reynolds finds himself existentially unfulfilled, working for the stars rather than beside them. He resides in a beautiful mansion with his wife and daughter, and his business is booming, but Reynold’s remains despondent as his attempts to pivot into producing and writing continually fail.
Depressed and at a creative dead-end, Reynolds finds himself inexplicably drawn back to the historical setting of his youth: he’s secretly signed up to participate in a weekend-long reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg in California’s Chino Valley. Just before his departure, an ex-Playmate—the very centerfold of Reynolds’s adolescent daydreams—pitches him her idea for a reality TV show. When Reynolds impulsively invites the Playmate and her bombshell best friend, a former Miss Spain, to accompany him to Chino Valley, his plans for a solitary weekend of escapism turn into much more than he bargained for.
With a compulsively readable narrative that offers a satirical portrait of Hollywood—the deal-making, the politics, the pitches—Gettysburg is an intelligent and powerful book about contemporary America.
Praise for All Joe Knight:
Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
An Amazon Best Book of the Month in Literature & Fiction for December 2016
“Morris is a natural storyteller . . . the line-by-line humanness is the absolute killer heart of this brilliant first novel.”—Terry McDonell, author of The Accidental Life
“A remarkable and agonizing portrayal of a middle-aged man who doesn’t know what’s become of his life, and doesn’t seem to care.”—Esquire
“[A] two-fisted debut novel . . . Joe is John Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom revised for the Trump era—more profane and straight-talking . . . Like a corner-bar Montaigne, Joe has an opinion on just about everything, from the wealthy to Bob Dylan to the 1974 Philadelphia Flyers to women’s breasts . . . Joe is a boor, but Morris gives him an awareness of that boorishness, a complex past, and a gift for sturdy, well-turned observations . . . And Morris . . . has put a spotlight on a lower middle class that gets little attention in contemporary fiction, regardless of race . . .One of the graces of fiction is that an effective character doesn’t have to be likable. Morris’ novel is a surprisingly full portrait of one man who exemplifies the notion.”—USA Today, 3/4 stars
“An engaging debut novel. Joe Knight . . . narrates in a gritty, defiant, sardonic voice that’s one of the work’s greatest strengths . . . A moving portrait of a lost soul in modern America, for all readers of literary fiction.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Suspenseful . . . Morris vividly evokes the dynamics among the boys—and later the disillusioned men—who came of age on the margins of a city in decline, and in the shadow of great colonial founding fathers.”—National Book Review
“Kevin Morris goes for a slam dunk in his debut novel, All Joe Knight.”—Vanity Fair Hot Type
“Morris’s novel deftly shows that the frustrations of a stunted middle-aged man are evocative terrain.”—Publishers Weekly
“An in your face account of friends, family, and Philly that I enjoyed all Knight long.”—My Dad Reads Too Many Books