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Everyday People
by Stewart O'Nan
Grove Press
268 pages, $24.00

Everyday People

"They take the early bus," Jesse Jackson said of his supporters in his two presidential campaigns of the 1980s. This sad and haunting novel is about the kinds of people riding that bus: telephone operators, baggage handlers, money counters at downtown banks, factory workers, waitresses. Stewart O'Nan's canvas is the inner lives of people who are often summed up by their outer lives, their jobs, the color of their skin. The novel weaves in and out of the minds of the residents of one block in an African-American neighborhood of Pittsburgh that is cut off from the rest of the city by a new busway built to ferry suburbanites to their city offices. "From the busway they can't see the streets, only the walls rising on both sides, just the tip of a steeple." Beyond those walls the struggles of the Tolbert family, with love and obligation, with hope and the end of hope, give shape to a plot that does not wholly unspool until the last sentence—about the most dramatic and poignant I have ever read.

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Jack Beatty is a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly and the editor of Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America, which was named one of the top ten books of 2001 by Business Week. His previous books are The World According to Peter Drucker (1998) and The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley (1992). More

Jack Beatty"The Atlantic Monthly is an American tradition; since 1857 it has helped to shape the American mind and conscience," senior editor Jack Beatty explains. "We are proud of that tradition. It is the tradition of excellence for which we were awarded the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. It is the tie that binds us to our past. It is a standard we won't betray."

Beatty joined The Atlantic Monthly as a senior editor in September of 1983, having previously worked as a book reviewer at Newsweek and as the literary editor of The New Republic.

Born, raised, and educated in Boston, Beatty wrote a best-selling biography of James Michael Curley, the Massachusetts congressman and governor and Boston mayor, which Addison-Wesley published in 1992 to enthusiastic reviews. The Washington Post said, "The Rascal King is an exemplary political biography. It is thorough, balanced, reflective, and gracefully written." The Chicago Sun-Times called it a ". . . beautifully written, richly detailed, vibrant biography." The book was nominated for a National Book Critics' Circle award.

His 1993 contribution to The Atlantic Monthly's Travel pages, "The Bounteous Berkshires," earned these words of praise from The Washington Post: "The best travel writers make you want to travel with them. I, for instance, would like to travel somewhere with Jack Beatty, having read his superb account of a cultural journey to the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts." Beatty is also the author of The World According to Peter Drucker, published in 1998 by The Free Press and called "a fine intellectual portrait" by Michael Lewis in the New York Times Book Review.

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