Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blog Tour/Review & Giveaway: Johnny One-Eye by Jerome Charyn

Welcome to a stop on Jerome Charyn's Johnny One-Eye Blog Tour, promoted by Tribute Books!

Check out the Blog Tour website here

Below you will find info about the book, author and a link to enter the giveaway.  I hope you enjoy! =)

Book Info:

ISBN #: 978-0-393-06497-1 (dj)
Page Count: 479
Copyright: 2008
Cost: $25.95
ISBN #: 978-0-393-33395-4 (sc)
Page Count: 448
Copyright: 2009
Cost: $14.95

Purchasing Links:

About the Author:

Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”
New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.
Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.

In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong."

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Visit the author's website, Facebook page or follow him on Twitter!

Check out Jerome Charyn, in the video below, and see what he has to say about Johnny One-Eye

Book Summary:
(Taken from dust jacket flaps)

Set in New York during the eight years of the Revolution, Charyn's Manhattan is a place where "British officers dined on blancmange while the rest of the population scrounged for scraps of food," where "dogs howled in a language that must have been terrible even for them."  A city abandoned by its patriots, given over to soldiers, thieves, and a courageous scatter of African stevedores and slaves, Manhattan has become a swamp where generals and whores rule, often in tandem, and spies lurk in every alley, not the least of them John Stocking, a one-eyed double agent "wandering across the landscape, a picaro" who is caught trying to poison General Washington's soup as the story opens in April 1776.

Called upon by both armies to do their bidding, Johnny must navigate the dangerous warrens of wartime Manhattan while dodging ruffians who want to have him dead.  Believing that his father may be George Washington and that his mother might be Mrs. Gertrude Jennings, the red-haired madam of Manhattan's "Holy Ground," Johnny is driven mad by his love for Clara, a ravishing, green-eyed octoroon, the most celebrated harlot of Gertrude's house, whose sexual powers threaten to influence the course of the Revolution.

As Johnny grapples with his allegiances, we follow the circuitous path of the Revolution, from the torching of Manhattan in 1776 to the murder of thousands of Americans aboard the infamous prison ship Jersey, to the decisive battle of Yorktown and Washington's heartrending departure from Manhattan in the autumn of 1783.

Mandy's Review:


Cover:  I was graciously sent a hardcover copy of Johnny One-Eye, so I will be reviewing that cover.

I love this cover.  The drawing of old-American footwear on a man and woman in a seemingly compromising situation is definitely an attention-grabber.  It intimates a certain ... private looseness about the citizens during the Revolutionary period.

Title:  Coupled with the drawing on intimacy, I first wondered if there was a certain perverseness in the title.  However, upon reading this novel, the title and cover art redefine themselves in the reader's mind.


The novels takes the reader through the eight years during the American Revolution.  It is told in the first-person through the eyes of John Stocking, or Johnny One-Eye as he's known to be called.  He came upon the nickname for losing an eye during the Quebec skirmishes under Benedict Arnold's command.

Teachers have taught, and still teach, about the American Revolution.  This novel is different from what you hear in class.  Yes, you are reading about the American Revolution, but in a fictional way that seems to be factual.  Jerome Charyn opens the reader's eyes to how it may have been for the people who were not soldiers, but were still affected because of the war.  I can promise you that if Jerome Charyn had been teaching my History class in school, I would've paid closer attention.  His writing truly captivates the reader's attention.

Main Characters

John Stocking - Born and raised in a brothel, John is an often disregarded fixture in the whore-house.  He loves King George for being his benefactor and allowing him to go to the King's College, but he also idolizes Benedict Arnold and George Washington.  He is a man conflicted and perhaps that is the reason why he became a double spy.

Gertrude Jennings - Madam of Queen's Yard, a brothel on a street nicknamed "Holy Ground."  She cares for the women in her bordello and does not pressure them to do anything they do not wish to do.  She has a huge heart, but can also be duplicitous ... mayhap having Gert's genes in him is another reason why Johnny became a double spy ... ???

Clara - A waif found by Gert.  She was covered in lice when Gert found her and cleaned her up.  Clara then became the most sought-after whore in Gert's establishment.  Clara was tall, blonde and the source of Johnny's obsession.  She was often conflicting in her ways.  I think she acted that way as a defense mechanism, to keep people from getting too emotionally attached to her.


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Jerome Charyn is a literary genius.  This is my third novel I have read of his and he is able to captivate me every time irregardless of topic.  I have never enjoyed reading about history as much as I have when I read this novel.  Charyn has become a must-read, automatic-buy author for me and I highly recommend his novels to all adults.


Want to win a copy of this novel?  Then click here to enter for your chance.  This is for U. S. residents only.  I will leave the form open until Friday, June 24th.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.  If I do not receive a response within 48 hours of win notification, another winner will be chosen in their place.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck on the giveaway!  Happy Reading =)

1 comment:

  1. Mandy, I always heartily enjoy your reviews and I'm glad we were able to connect you to the work of now one of your favorite authors - Jerome Charyn. There's nothing better for a promoter of books to connect a reader with a writer whose work they enjoy. That is a big compliment & recommendation - thank you for that!

    As always, I enjoy the way you lay out your reviews in terms of cover, characters and plot. They are so easy to read and really give someone who is not familiar with the book a good grasp on the story.

    Best of luck to all who enter Mandy's giveaway. I hope you enjoy the book as much as she did.


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