A panoramic novel set in New York City during the catastrophic blizzard of February 1978
On the night of February 6, 1978, a catastrophic nor'easter struck the city of New York. On that night, in a penthouse in the Upper West Side’s stately Apelles, a crowd gathered for a wild party. And on that night, Mr. Albert Haynes Caldwell—a partner emeritus at Swank, Brady & Plescher; Harvard class of '26; father of three; widower; atheist; and fiscal conservative—hatched a plan to fake a medical emergency and toss himself into the Hudson River, where he would drown.
In the eye of this storm: Hazel Saltwater, age six. The strange events of that night irrevocably altered many lives, but none more than hers. The Blizzard Party is Hazel’s reconstruction of that night, an exploration of love, language, conspiracy, auditory time travel, and life after death.
Cinematic, with a vast cast of characters and a historical scope that spans World War II Poland, the lives of rich and powerful Manhattanites in the late 1970’s, and the enduring effects of 9/11, Jack Livings's The Blizzard Party is an epic novel in the form of a final farewell.
I am Hazel Saltwater, daughter of Erwin and Sarah Saltwater, a citizen of the borough of Manhattan, proprietor, researcher, part-time recluse, widow, fury, known to the waiters at Wavy Grain Bistro (formerly the Cosmic Diner) as Ms....
Praise for The Blizzard Party
"[A] brilliant debut novel . . . Livings calls to mind the work of Michael Chabon as he brings insight into the way events and circumstances shape his characters' lives. This is one to savor." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)
"[A] first novel that might be called a detour de force: sprawling, discursive, loose-limbed (and impressive) . . . Livings's nearest model may be the doorstop-sized novels of Tom Wolfe . . . and this book is similarly digressive, maximalist, and prone to old-fashioned manipulations of sentiment. Livings may not quite have Wolfe's journalistic chops, but he's a far more skillful and empathetic novelist, and what seems moralistic and preening in Wolfe's books reads here mostly as playful and nimble . . . One may wonder why a first-time novelist in 2020 would follow the Wolfe/Balzac template for the Novel of Everything . . . but the fact is that Livings, amazingly, pulls it off. An exuberant, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink pleasure." —KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)
"[An] ambitious debut . . . [The Blizzard Party] features moments of brilliance, especially in the dialogue and the surprising connections. A literary feast." —BOOKLIST