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A touching story about a truly American place
on November 7, 1998
It has become almost cliche to say that modern writers make a character of the settings of their novels. But in this book, the author truly vitalizes Buffalo, N.Y. Through the novelized true story of his wife's Polish immigrant parents and details plucked from two centuries of municipal history, he weaves a story about a place that is arguably the most American of cities. Situated on a Great Lake, with the belching prosperity of smokestacks and a miraculous curtain of snow as backdrops, he tells the story of a family that finds a home in industrial America. Gritty urban scenes give way to a confrontation between the races which ends in a flight to the suburbs. In "The Last Fine Time" we find the story of a family, and of a once-great city, that is a fable about American life. He answers the question of how, in 100 years, puritanical farmers became the empowered factory workers that became alienated, shell-shocked suburbanites on the edge of the 21st century.