When Nixon orders the bombing of Cambodia, a university erupts in protest, irrevocably altering the lives of students and faculty, and disrupting the process of storytelling itself.
When Nixon orders the bombing of Cambodia, the resulting protests push a West Coast university to the brink of anarchy, altering irrevocably the lives of students and faculty and disrupting the process of storytelling itself. Through the words of two professors and a communal voice known only as "We," Hazard Adams interweaves the political, literary, and philosophical developments of the time into a story in which generations and their histories meet, as well as literary styles and methods, showing how political and intellectual events play on the consciousness of a range of characters. The spirit here is serious and generous, but not without a satirical element as a communal group attempts to establish an elusive identity. With a remarkable breadth of method, Adams deliberately evades the usual literary classifications.
Hazard Adams is Byron W. and Alice L. Lockwood Professor Emeritus of Humanities at the University of Washington. His previous books include The Academic Tribes; The Horses of Instruction; and The Truth About Dragons.
"Many Pretty Toys is a novel at once about the 1969–1970 era of campus tumult and a narrative shaped by forces just coming into literary and philosophical play during those years. It is to Adams's credit that he makes both sides of this action an extremely interesting story. When student radicals of thirty years ago challenged the authority of discourse, more than current political issues were in question; Hazard Adams's novel shows that our methods of perceiving and writing were forced to change in ways that are of great interest today." — Jerome Klinkowitz, author of Keeping Literary Company: Working with Writers since the Sixties
"We have many novels about the sixties, but few that remember with such care, measure, and maturity. Many Pretty Toys is heartfelt, but also a novel of the mind: of the scholastic temperament struggling to adapt, mentor, and teach in times of great turbulence. Neither an elegy nor an apologia, it comprehends all the paradoxes of trying to know or conclude, and the human need for telling nonetheless." — Bruce Michelson, University of Illinois
"Hazard Adams's Many Pretty Toys echoes and is, in many appealing ways, an update of Lionel Trilling's The Middle of the Journey. Adams's novel does for the tumultuous time of Vietnam-era protest on college campuses what Trilling's novel did for the same world during the radical thirties. The competing voices in Many Pretty Toys both critique and create an academic novel of generous heart and admirable substance." — William O'Rourke, author of Signs of the Literary Times: Essays, Reviews, Profiles 1970–1992