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Eureka

A Novel

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Description

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jim Lehrer's Tension City.

Ever reliable and responsible, Otis Halstead is a father, a husband (one half of a “well-dressed couple of substance”), and the CEO of Kansas Central Fire and Casualty. He has never done anything out of the ordinary. Until now.

The change in Otis starts with an antique toy fire truck, the exact model he had pined for at age ten but never received. Though it is now a collectible costing $12,350, he will buy it–because he can. Next comes a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, ordered from the Nostalgia Today catalog. A Kansas City Chiefs regulation NFL helmet follows. But Otis’s real coup is the purchase of his one true childhood passion: a red 1952 Cushman Pacemaker motor scooter. For his baffled wife, Sally, this is the final straw. She insists that he see a shrink– a sloppy man with flowing hair who uses terms like “mature men in crisis” and “second childhood syndrome.” Otis is unimpressed–and extremely insulted–by the doctor’s insinuation that his baldness is to blame for his sudden interest in toys.

But it’s not until tragedy strikes uncomfortably close to home that Otis decides he wants out of his sensible, safe life in Eureka, Kansas. And so, a few weeks before his sixtieth birthday, Otis leaves town, heading west on old U.S. 56, a corporate CEO wearing a football helmet, riding a forty-year-old motor scooter, and with a BB gun strapped to the side. One might say he was in for an adventure. Otis would say he was finally about to experience life.

Jim Lehrer has created an acute, laugh-out-loud, and endearing portrait of American middle age. With abundant wit and a sharp sense of the lives most of us lead, Eureka takes us on a journey through the unfulfilled dreams of childhood. In Otis Halstead, Lehrer has created his most brilliant and winning character to date.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 23, 2007 – Spurred on by the sight of a toy he never received as a child, a restless, aging Eureka, Kans., insurance executive relives his youth with disastrous (and hilarious) results in the 17th novel by Lehrer, prolific writer and PBS NewsHour anchor. Otis Halstead, 59, married father of one, is in the clutches of a midlife crisis spending spree; he dismisses his nagging wife’s pleas that he see a therapist and continues buying items he’s always dreamed of owning: a miniature fire truck (now a collector’s item that goes for $12,000), a BB gun, a football helmet and an antique red Cushman motor scooter. The suicide of disillusioned co-worker Pete Wetmore (who left behind a telling note) provides the impetus for Otis to mount the scooter and leave town. But a steady string of bad luck finds a hospitalized Otis back in Eureka faking a coma to buy time for some heavy, overdue retrospection and one final decision. Calamity gives way to poignancy in this consistently fun story buoyed by an endearing protagonist readers will cheer for.
Eureka
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Oct 02, 2007
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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