In the early years of the 1940s, as the nation's young men ship off to combat, a city springs up, seemingly overnight in the fields of Oklahoma: the Van Damme airplane factory, a gargantuan complex dedicated to the construction of the necessary machinery of warfare. Laborers--mostly women--flock to this place, enticed by the opportunity to be something more than wife and homemaker. For Vi, fleeing a dying ranch; for Connie, following an unfaithful husband; for Diane, leaving behind the hot music and soldier boys to pursue something different, adult, and real; their journeys will be liberating in ways they couldn't previously imagine, and it will lead each of them to Prosper Olander--disabled artist, forger, friend, lover, and the true heart and soul of the temporary city--who will change their lives in profound and unexpected ways.
About the Author
John Crowley was born in the apporopriately liminal town of Presque Isle, Maine, in 1942, his father then an officer in the US Army Air Corps. He grew up in Vermont, northeastern Kentucky and (for the longest stretch) Indiana, where he went to high school and college. He moved to New York City after college to make movies.
“Ultimately, the significance of Four Freedoms lies in its thoroughness, the sheer specificity. . . . The result is an accessible, painstakingly crafted work that offers many pleasures and rewards. It could be the novel that finally brings Crowley the wide attention he has long deserved.”
“Four Freedoms.perfectly captures an era—WWII America—when the chosen are overseas and the left-behind are granted a rare moment of possibility. Crowley’s extraordinary characters and the poignant, funny, disturbing ways they find to connect with one another make you wish this war would never end.”
-San Francisco Chronicle, Top-Shelf Fiction Pick
“John Crowley is a virtuoso of metaphor, a peerless recreator of living moments, of small daily sublimities. And his latest novel, Four Freedoms, is in many ways his most unguarded and imaginative work.”
-New York Times Book Review
“Brilliantly realized .... More rich, satisfying food for thought from one of America’s most imaginative and accomplished novelists.”
-Kirkus Reviews on FOUR FREEDOMS
“In a tricky narrative that weaves in and out of the novel’s present (1942–5) and lavishly detailed flashbacks to the characters’ earlier lives, Crowley creates a fascinating microcosm....More rich, satisfying food for thought from one of America’s most imaginative and accomplished novelists.”
-Kirkus Reviews (pointer) for FOUR FREEDOMS
“Although nominally about life at an American aircraft factory during World War II, Crowley’s complex and subtle novel is much grander. . . . Four Freedoms is also a triumph of both research and imagination. . . . A wonderful novel that readers won’t soon forget.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“One gets the feeling that Crowley loves observing women because he captures them so precisely and so intimately....FOUR FREEDOMS goes back in time... bringing us stories filled with love, loss, integrity, and heart.”
“Four Freedoms is so rich and so evocative and so authentic.”