The War at Home coverJust the Way You Want Me

A Novel by 
Nora Eisenberg
Leapfrog Press
216 Pages / 6 x 9 / Paper
ISBN 0-9679520-7-7 Trade edition - $14.95 
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Mystery, charm, and sweet-natured humor* in a Brilliant New Novel by the Author of the Critically Acclaimed The War at Home

Summer 2003 marks fifty years since the height of the cold war and the “witch hunts” of the McCarthy era. In her widely praised first novel, The War at Home, Nora Eisenberg combined great compassion, observation and humor to render the emotional and cultural complexities of a family whose political beliefs opposed the policies of their government. "Nora Eisenberg paints an intriguing portrait of a red-diaper childhood,” says the Boston Globe. Hailing it a Book Rave of 2002, The Washington Post Book World adds, “With her spiky, keening prose, Eisenberg depicts that world from a child's point of view, deftly mixing nostalgia and knock-kneed vulnerability.” In her radiant new novel, Eisenberg deepens her examination of our political traumas, telling the story of Betsy Ross Vogel, daughter of the infamous Sam Vogel, a self-styled American patriot and charismatic labor leader in the 1950’s who, refusing to sign a loyalty oath, runs afoul of the FBI and ends up running for the rest of his life.

 At the age of forty, Betsy Vogel is a New York City journalist who bears the emotional wounds of her family's past.  With many failed relationships behind her and a loving man very much in her future, Betsy is simply unable to commit. Sexually pliant, generous to a fault, Betsy puts her own best interests last. When, on the eve of a new life, she discovers that Sam, in and out of prison since the day she was born, is not buried in the family plot, indeed may not be dead at all, she's compelled to begin a cross-country journey that leads her to discoveries about her father, herself, and the dark truth about our nation. With a warm, energetic voice, comic characterizations of the eccentric Vogel clan, and a cross-country trip ranging from the condos of Miami Beach to the Santa Monica Pier, Just The Way You Want Me explores the cultural legacies of deeply committed political families and the life-long struggles of their children to measure up to their parents' idealistic dreams.

At the heart of this tragicomic novel matters of love, loyalty, and honesty burn with rare intensity, as do alarming parallels to the politics of today. For then, as now, a “with us or against us” standard sought to silence those who dared raise their voices against government policy. And sadly, then, as now, children were left to face the frightening repercussions of their parents’ political choices.


“Eisenberg follows a woman as she searches for her father—presumed dead for 20 years…The mystery here never overwhelms the charm of Betsy’s story, a comfortable balance between seriousness and sweet-natured humor.”
—Kirkus Reviews *

“Nora Eisenberg writes with an integrity, energy and social sense rare in contemporary American fiction. With striking compassion and vision, she examines our past, to find values that might guide us in a troubled present. A compelling new voice.”
Vivian Gornick

About The Author

Nora Eisenberg’s first novel, The War at Home, was chosen a Washington Post Book World Book Rave of 2002 and won enthusiastic acclaim from critics nationwide. She is a Professor of English at the City University of New York (La Guardia) and the co-author of four influential text books on writing. Her short fiction and prose have appeared in The Partisan Review, The Village Voice, Choice, Tikkun and The Los Angeles Times.  She lives in Manhattan .

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Copyright 2006 Archer Books. All Rights Reserved.