Author and historian Darlene Wesenberg Rzezotarski has based this novel on personal experiences, supplemented by articles from a variety of small press newspapers including Kaleidoscope and Street Sheet. With a master's degree in comparative literature and many years of teaching and research experience to draw upon, she has created endearing characters inhabiting an all-too-real, transformational era.
In the style of Alexander McCall Smith's Corduroy Mansions, the novel Tannenbaum Arms takes you into the uncertain world of the Vietnam War Era. Within the aging red-brick apartment building near a midwestern university campus, the clearly depicted events of 1969-1970 are witnessed through the eyes of characters ranging from age three months to 87 years. Deeply-felt experiences-the Chicago 7 trial, the December 1st Draft Lottery, the first Earth Day, student boycotts, Kent State murders, and My Lai protests--are brought to life.
But there is love, as well as war within these pages, and humor as well as uncertainty. Students Lily and Jay inhabit the basement apartment with their toddler son and rescue dog, living rent-free in exchange for their services as building caretakers. Beginning the year as strangers, caretakers and tenants grow into comfortable friendships, but not without rollicking disruptions ranging from drains clogged with candle wax to ashtray fires; from lost keys to lost souls fleeing in the night.
For those who lived through the era, the novel is a touchstone of the times, while younger readers can experience life in the '60s. Immerse yourself in Jay and Lily's struggles as you travel through the school year with them.