Here’s the whole stack — with more on the way.

Out now from Overlook Press, The Master Blaster. Also, new paperback editions of A Call From Jersey, Gone Tomorrow, Eddie And The Cruisers and Biggest Elvis.

P.F. Kluge
The Master Blaster

The Master Blaster

The Master Blaster, my new novel, is set on Saipan. I was there in the 1960's with the Peace Corps, and have returned many times since. Saipan is one of my islands, part of my life-long fascination with bounded, yet also boundless, places. Janet Maslin said of the novel, in her New York Times review, "[It's] voice — jaundiced, seasoned, amused and vibrant as it is — gives “The Master Blaster” added allure. This is not a young man’s book; it’s the work of a writer who has seen the world, literally and figuratively, for a long time. “The Master Blaster” is tinged with thoughts of mortality, but they are offset by a bon vivant’s occasional flash of gratitude and beauty."

The Master Blaster (2012)
Overlook Press
ISBN 978-1-59020-322-4
304 pages, hardcover
$26.95
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A Call From Jersey

A Call From Jersey

A Call From Jersey is part of an old story, with a long-delayed happy ending. I first wrote it twenty years ago, drawing on my New Jersey home, my German immigrant family. I wondered what their lives were like, especially during World War II, when their families (my uncles and cousins) were on the wrong side of World War II. I also included my interest in boxing, especially in Max Schmeling, who trained at a camp a few miles from my childhood home. The novel went nowhere.Then, two summers ago, my agent, Matt Bialer, suggested I take a look at it. I dug out the manuscript, fully expecting to put it away again. But the work — with all its early faults — spoke to me and I spent all summer on it. This is the novel that Kirkus Reviews just described as 'heartfelt, funny and poignant.'.”

A Call From Jersey (2010)
Overlook Press
ISBN 978-1590203613
350 pages, hardcover
$25.95
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Gone Tomorrow

Gone Tomorrow

I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of academic novels but I’ve never come across one that was set in a place resembling the college that I attended and now serve as Writer in Residence, Kenyon College, in Gambier, Ohio. Though it is not named, Kenyon — its moods and seasons, its quirks and streaks, its ups and downs — pervade every page of Gone Tomorrow. I’ve spent a good deal of time in this place, contemplating other professors’ lives and my own life. I have wondered — as, I suspect, many others do — what it means to stay in a place like this, what it might mean to leave. All this led to Gone Tomorrow—along with Biggest Elvis, my best-reviewed novel.”

Gone Tomorrow (2008)
Overlook Press
ISBN 978-1590200902
286 pages, hardcover
$25.95
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Gone Tomorrow

Gone Tomorrow

This is the paperback edition of Gone Tomorrow, issued in late September 2009 by Overlook Press.”

Gone Tomorrow (2009)
Overlook Press
ISBN 978-1590202593
368 pages, softcover
$14.95
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Eddie and the Cruisers

Eddie and the Cruisers

A fictional examination of my weakness — lifelong weakness — for the songs of my youth. Hits come and go, the products of a season; but they return — sometimes, they seduce and reproach. The novel is set in New Jersey, much of it in Vineland where I had a summer job on the town newspaper in 1962. The novel and the film have been described as a rock and roll Citizen Kane. To this, I do not object. The first Eddie And The Cruisers was directed by Martin Davidson. The sequel, Eddie Lives, is a talent-free embarrassment.

Eddie & The Cruisers (2009)
Overlook Press
ISBN 978-1590200940
256 pages, softcover
$14.95
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Biggest Elvis

Biggest Elvis

What began as one Philippines-based novel, then another, became a trilogy with Biggest Elvis. In this case, journalism led to fiction. I visited the mammoth U.S. Naval base at Subic Bay twice, once on assignment for Rolling Stone magazine, once for Playboy. The place was unforgettable: a neon wilderness, a sexual vanity fair, a high water mark of American military and cultural power. There was more there than a pair of magazine articles could accommodate. Then my friend Lazarus Salii (see The Edge of Paradise) told me of a trio of singers who had come to Palau and been stranded there, broke. The three men were an Elvis Presley show, each incarnating a stage of the king’s life. The idea of three Elvis’s knocking around the world was appealing to me. A novel — which ought to be a movie — was born. It had music, sex, romance, politics, exotic locations. It was an American Year of Living Dangerously. Of all my books, this was the most fun to write. Every day, the question from manuscript to author was: what kind of fun are we going to have today? I think it shows.

Biggest Elvis (1996)
Penguin
ISBN 0-140258116
341 pages, softcover
$11.95
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Biggest Elvis

Biggest Elvis

This is the new paperback edition of Biggest Elvis from Overlook Press.

Biggest Elvis (2009)
Overlook Press
ISBN 978-1590202586
368 pages, softcover
$14.95
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Final Exam

Final Exam

I’ve read a lot of so-called academic novels: Malamud, Jarrell, Amis, Lodge, Smiley, Prose, Russo and the pungent Edward Allen. Though there are things I’ve enjoyed, none of them seemed to capture the place I attended, where I now live and work: Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio. Measured against my sense of life at Kenyon — as reported in my non-fiction book, Alma Mater — these novels seemed forced, broad, hyperbolic. Surely they were entertaining. But not persuasive. When life lands a sixty-ish writer back at the same campus he attended as a teenaged scholarship kid, the writer tends to have a take on the place. Some things, he remembers; others, he imagines. History flows into story and, in this case, into mystery, dubbed “liberal arts noir” by the publisher. A series of murders panics a small college. The question is: who’d want to kill a college? And who might be able to save it?

Final Exam (2005) XOXOX Press
ISBN 1-880977133
250 pages, softcover
$14.95
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Alma Mater

Alma Mater

I love islands. Micronesia — Saipan, Palau, Pohnpei — is full of them. Gambier, Ohio is another kind of island, a small, surrounded place where I live and teach. My alma mater, my current employer. If you live in a place, you write about it. Alma Mater is a loving, scathing, funny account of a year in the life of Kenyon College. No names have been changed. And I put myself in the way of as much experience as I could bear: trustees, hiring searches, fraternity life, dormitory grotesquerie, departmental meetings — I even moved back into the same dorm I’d occupied as a college freshman in 1960-61. For that alone I deserve Nobel Prize consideration.

Alma Mater (2000)
Addison Wesley
ISBN 978-0962325014
272 pages, softcover
$14.95
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Edge of Paradise

The Edge of Paradise

I requested Ethiopia or Turkey, because I’d been reading people like Graham Greene and Lawrence Durrell. The Peace Corps sent me to the Pacific Islands — Micronesia. The islands stayed with me and I’ve kept returning, checking on places and people I care about. This makes me like many other returned Peace Corps volunteers. But in 1988 my best Micronesian friend, Lazarus Salii, president of the Republic of Palau, committed suicide. His death gave the story an edge and purpose that went beyond nostalgia. The book was well reviewed and remains in print. A final note: my agent sent the manuscript to James Michener, soliciting a blurb. We knew we’d never hear from him. But we did: a kind note, typed on a rickety manual typewriter like the one I use. I mention this because there’s nothing more rare, especially in publishing, than an act of disinterested kindness. This was such an act.

The Edge of Paradise (1993)
University of Hawaii
ISBN 978-0824815677
256 pages, softcover
$21.00
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A Season for War

A Season for War

I was intrigued by the fact that some of the same soldiers who fought in the Civil War later served in the last Indian campaigns of the 1880’s and were then shipped off to our first overseas adventure in the turn-of-the-century Philippines. That the same lives could move from John Ford’s western desert to Francis Ford Coppola’s jungles was irresistible. Also: some of the soldiers were black. Season For War was the result, obscurely published and lightly reviewed. I may have written as good a novel later on; never a better one.

A Season for War (1988)
Lorevan
ISBN 978-0824815677
272 pages, softcover
$10.00
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McArthur's Ghost

McArthur’s Ghost

A continuing interest in the love/hate relationship between America and the Philippines underlies my second novel, which spans the years from World War II to the Marcos era. My wife’s presence in Manila — as a New York Times correspondent — gave me reason to travel to Manila, a chance to read and research. I met Luis Taruc, leader of the postwar Huk rebellion. And with my wife, I attended Imelda Marcos’ lavish Manila International Film Festival. I was, as they say, gathering material.

McArthur’s Ghost (1987)
Arbor House
ISBN 978-0877959014
327 pages, hardcover
Market price
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The Day I Die

The Day I Die

A thriller set in the Pacific islands I saw as a Peace Corps volunteer. The novel was suggested by a 1967 visit by actor Lee Marvin to the island of Saipan, where I was his guide. Marvin, an ex-Marine, had served on Saipan and was wounded there. He gave me an idea for a story. The novel was optioned by film director Robert Aldrich; the film was never made.

The Day I Die (1976)
Bobbs-Merrill
ISBN 978-0672521904
243 pages, softcover
Market price
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