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By turns hilarious and poignant, The Dakota Winters is a family drama, a page-turning social novel, and a tale of a critical moment in the history of New York City in the year leading up to John Lennon’s assassination.
‘Conjures a gritty, populous, affectionate portrait of 1979 New York City’ Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach

It’s the fall of 1979 when 23-year-old Anton Winter, back from the Peace Corps and on the mend from a nasty bout of malaria, returns to his childhood home in the Dakota in New York City. Anton’s father, the famous late-night host Buddy Winter is there to greet him, himself recovering from a breakdown. Before long Anton is swept up in an effort to reignite Buddy’s stalled career, a mission that takes him from the gritty streets of New York, to the slopes of the Lake Placid Olympics, to the Hollywood Hills, to the blue waters of the Bermuda Triangle, and brings him into close quarters with the likes of Johnny Carson, Ted and Joan Kennedy, and a seagoing John Lennon.

But the more Anton finds himself enmeshed in his father’s professional and spiritual reinvention, the more he questions his own path, and fissures in the Winter family begin to threaten their close bond.

‘Deft, funny, touching, and sharply observed, a marvel of tone, and a skillful evocation of a dark passage in the history of New York City, when all the fearful ironies of the world we live in now first came stalking into view’ Michael Chabon, author of Moonglow
 
‘This is a crazily charming novel … I wanted to begin a new life in these pages, with these characters. I wanted to trade worlds with them. This is a wise and seductive story that feels truer than true, as only the very finest fiction does’ Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air
 
‘A thought-provoking time capsule… if you were a fan of TV’s Mad Men, you might very well love this novel as much as I did’ Wally Lamb, author of She’s Come Undone

Tom Barbash is the author of the award-winning novel The Last Good Chance and the New York Times non-fiction bestseller, On Top of the World. His stories and articles have been published in Tin House, McSweeney's, VQR and other publications, and have been performed on US National Public Radio. Raised in Manhattan, he currently lives in California.

‘Nostalgia for a grittier New York City suffuses this father-son odyssey, set in the year leading up to John Lennon’s murder . . . Funny and keenly observed.’ 

– Mail on Sunday

Dark and humourous . . . Thoroughly enjoyable.’

– Spectator

About fathers and sons, the perniciousness of fame and the challenge of second acts . . . Barbash recreates an inviting world. And he observes clearly the human tendency to turn people into idols, only to topple them.’ 

– The Economist

Excellent . . . At its heart, this is a story about family bonds and a pivotal time in New York.’ 

– Rolling Stone

Arresting . . . Barbash has vividly captured the end times feeling of this period in America and has populated his sad and funny tale with a highly engaging mix of real people and fictional characters . . . Barbash has sprinkled The Dakota Winters with Beatle dust. Lennon is alive in its pages.’

– New York Times Book Review

‘You can practically hear Lennon’s signature cackle, feel the tickle of his ponytailed hair, smell the salt air.’ 

– Washington Post

‘A beautiful, evocative novel of family devotion, celebrity, downfall and survival, framed by the political and cultural upheavals of America on the cusp of a new decade. Irresistibly tender.’ 

– Library Journal

‘Punctuated by clever dialogue and crisp social critiques, Barbash’s incisive, funny and poignant portrait of talented people and a city in flux illuminates the risks of celebrity and the struggle to become one’s true self.’ 

– Booklist

‘Seamlessly mingling historical figures with invented ones, Tom Barbash conjures a gritty, populous, affectionate portrait of 1979 New York City: the site of his subtly captivating paean to filial love.’ 

– Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach

Deft, funny, touching and sharply observed, a marvel of tone, and a skillful evocation of a dark passage in the history of New York City, when all the fearful ironies of the world we live in now first came stalking into view.’ 

– Michael Chabon, author of Moonglow

‘This is a crazily charming novel . . . I wanted to begin a new life in these pages, with these characters. I wanted to trade worlds with them. This is a wise and seductive story that feels truer than true, as only the very finest fiction does.’ 

– Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air

A thought-provoking time capsule . . . if you were a fan of TV’s Mad Men, you might very well love this novel as much as I did.’
 

– Wally Lamb, author of She’s Come Undone

More books from this author: Tom Barbash