As a young foreign born, U.S. naturalized Muslim citizen, the phrase ‘domestic terrorism’ has a particular resonance. In David Goodwillie’s first novel, American Subversive, however, adeptly and creatively avoids the common stereotype and brings to life a gripping thriller about terrorism without devolving into cliche and stereotype. A story about two vastly different but chillingly similar protagonists, Goodwillie crafts an action packed narrative following a cynical New York blogger and a young idealist gone rogue that has substance and powerful social commentary in format commonly dismissed as an airplane read.
While furious and fast paced, American Subversive does not hesitate to ask hard questions of its readers. At the heart of the book is the troubling dichotomy that is inherent in his generation and the next, those who care too much and those who don’t. “I wasn’t interested in liberal and conservative, rather apathy versus engagement, cynicism versus sincerity.” Goodwillie says of his book, which is a surprising and refreshing take on the cultural, political and economic issues looming ahead for the world’s remaining superpower. With particularly sharp attention to detail and facts, the author manages to craft a sharply local atmosphere, whether downtown New York haunts familiar to its denizens, or rambling through rural mining towns in the American Midwest. Goodwillie marries this in depth knowledge of the local with a strong sense of narrative of the global, attuned to the overarching themes of paranoia, social tension and disconnect prevalent in today’s American society.
Goodwillie’s talent in switching effortlessly between local and global, and innate knowledge of a diaspora of cultures and professions stem from his cosmopolitan upbringing in Paris, London, and D.C. Coupled with his eventful seven years in New York during which he was dabbled in everything from private investigation to auction house expert to a stint at the famous Chelsea Hotel, the author fully utilizes his varied experiences to bring to life a novel that is rich in emotional individual moments, dramatic, thrilling plot developments and powerful social commentary.
It’s hard to find good entertaining fiction about current affairs these days that doesn’t devolve into the usual clichéd messes repeated ad nauseum by shows like 24 and CSI. In American Subversive, a novel emerges that embraces the imperfect nature of most conflicts and situations