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 Gettysburg:
“Morris’s entertaining second novel, following All Joe Knight, zeros in on a particular male fantasy, and acknowledges the importance of entertainment and honoring the past, both personal and historic.”—Booklist
“Though Reynolds’s plans for renewal end up wildly off the mark, he ultimately finds something of value. While delightedly skewering the privileged entertainment industry lifestyle, Morris uses Reynolds’s travails and the divisions of the Civil War period to make larger points about the current state of America.”—Library Journal
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