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The Last Green Light

The Last Green Light

By George Foy

The Great Gatsby is known for the glitz and glamour of Gilded Age plutocrats; in The Last Green Light, the working people of Fitzgerald's novel get to tell their own, beautifully textured tale. Meet Jon Laine, a Midwesterner who captains one of the rumrunning boats that are the source of Gatsby's great wealth; enter a colorful netherworld of diner cooks, dump scavengers, secretaries, deckhands and car mechanics caught in the increasingly deadly conflict between organized crime syndicates, amid the murderous passions of caste-busting love. From movie stars to dark freighters, Wobblies to Harlem nightclubs The Last Green Light, like a jazz improvisation, riffs on a great American novel, creating its own, unique world in the process.


Guernica World Editions ()


220 pages |

Regular price $22.95 CAD
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America’s love affair with gangsters didn’t start with The Great Gatsby and doesn’t look like it's ending soon. Fitzgerald’s novel and the party-throwing icon at its centre are set like a dazzling jewel on the forehead of Modern Fiction. But that is only one side of paradise, and in The Last Green Light, George Foy takes us on a thrilling, beautifully written ride through another, darker side. How did Gatsby come into all that money? Foy answers that question with a realistic exposé of Gatsby's past and the rum-running mayhem exploding off the shores of Jazz Age Long Island … Readers will recognize names from Fitzgerald's book, but this novel stands on its own. Foy deploys a cast of vividly imagined characters into scenes of slash-bang action intertwined with a deeply humane evocation of longing—for love, status, and ultimately self-respect.

If The Great Gatsby had a subconscious it would be this lovely, often poetic novel, in which working people pull the mask off "Gilded Age" New York City to reveal the violence and exploitation underlying the 1920s American dream. A must-read.

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About the author

George Michelsen Foy is the author of thirteen novels. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Ep;phany Journal, Washington Square Review, Monkey Bicycle, Apeiron, Notre Dame Review, American Literary Review, and other journals; and his long-form non-fiction has been published in Harper’s, Rolling Stone, Men's Journal, and Slate. Of his novel To Sleep with Ghosts (Bantam / Doubleday), Nobel prize-winner Doris Lessing wrote, “[Foy is] a storyteller who, like Conrad, can compress into a tale you can’t put down all the complexities of a time and place.” His non-fiction books include Run the Storm (Scribner / Simon & Schuster, 2018) and Finding North: How navigation makes us human (Flatiron / Macmillan, 2016). GM Foy was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in fiction, and has won a Joe Gouveia Poetry Prize as well as awards in Ep;phany Journal's, Foreword 's, Fiction Factory's and Cutthroat Journal's short-story contests. Foy lives in southeastern New England and Brooklyn and teaches writing at NYU. At various times in a checkered career he was smuggled into Afghanistan with a rebel patrol and witnessed bombing raids on guerrilla camps in Central Africa; he also worked as a factory-hand, agricultural laborer, commercial fisherman, watchkeeping officer on British tramp freighters, and as chief cream-pastry transporter for a cakes factory in West London.