In Promised Land, Jack Dann returns to the alternate America of his acclaimed 2004 novel The Rebel: An Imagined Life of James Dean. In that book, Dean, the most promising actor of his time, survived his car crash in 1955, and lived on, making great movies and interacting with some of the foremost personalities of the Fifties and Sixties while drifting towards a strange political destiny in lockstep with Robert Kennedy. Now, Promised Land expands on that premise, offering brilliant insights into Dean, the Kennedys, and others, both as they were and as they might have been.
In this volume's dexterously interlinked stories and novellas, we come to understand Marilyn Monroe more vividly than ever before - her inner conflicts, her indecision between lovers and lifestyles, between life and death. We witness the evolution of Elvis Presley from a home-grown Memphis boy to a jaded superstar, the deaths of those closest to him fuelling his alienation from his better nature. We glimpse the paradoxical moral constitution of Bobby Kennedy, crusading idealist yet capable of deep cynicism and infidelity. We come to know the wheedling eloquence of Jack Kerouac, and the bizarre psychology of William Burroughs. And connecting them all, in chains of passionate friendship and enigmatic karmic sympathy, is the figure of Jimmy Dean, who believes his second chance at existence is a trust from God, but who struggles to uncover what exactly that means... [via]