Oak Park, Il (PressExposure) January 09, 2009 -- Hard to believe a contemporary novel could come out of a dark Victorian attic belonging to Ernest Hemingway. There is not much light and the wood is very dark and it looks like, well, an attic! But it is also the place William Elliott Hazelgrove http://www.billhazelgrove.com has been going for ten years to hack out a new work of literature after not publishing for ten years.
The novelist had published three books before he began his sojurn up to the attic in Oak Park Ilinois. "I really couldn't come up with another Southern novel and that is what Bantam had published before," the forty eight year old author said from his studio in the attic. "So I looked around at what was going on and came up with this dissaffected guy named Dale Hammer and put him smack in the middle of the housing crisis and that's really how Rocket Man began."
The book came out in December and is already being hailed as one of the first novels to deal with the death of the American Dream. Rocket Man tracks a man in his last week of normalcy in a far western suburb, struggling to hold onto his home while losing the battle with "whitebread" conformity that surrounds him. The Chicago Sun Times led off with a review comparing, Rocket Man with the works of John Irving, Updike, and Richard Russo. "..the funniest serious novel I have read since Richard Russo's Straight Man, rich with the epic levity of John Irving and salted with the perversion of Updike." It is a funny book, a satire in which the themes of conformity and economic survival are played out in a situational comedy. Over one hundred online reviews have been posted with top ranked Amazon reviewer, Grady Harp, summing up the book: "William Elliott Hazelgrove's ROCKET MAN is a brilliant piece of writing, a work that meticulously dissects contemporary life in America with such a keen eye that the author is able to catch at least passing glances at us all." http://www.amazon.com/review/R39EDRED9UGH6Y/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R39EDRED9UGH6Y
And after the holidays the San Antonio Express picked Rocket Man as one of the Best Books of 2008 with novelist David Liss citing the book as "a first rate black comedy." [http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/books/Best_books_of_2008.html] Maybe the irony of Rocket Man is that in the year 2009, the book that might just be the most contemporary, came from a place where it seems time stands still.