A brilliant debut novel about New York and Los Angeles in the nineties, Annie Oakley, and the end of the American Dream
Hayward Theiss is on the lam, hiding out in a Malibu beach house that is not his, and trying to understand how he got there. A car crash, a bag of dope, a sinister producer, and his best friend’s strange escape from rehab all play into the story. To further complicate matters, Hayward is the great-grandson of a massively ambitious robber baron named Finn Theiss, who had a long-ago affair with the sharpshooter Annie Oakley. In trying to understand how he got here, Hayward begins to untangle the convoluted estrangement between these two, and confronts the possibility that Annie Oakley is in fact his great-grandmother. The author includes beautifully woven-in excerpts from Oakley’s autobiography that have never appeared in book form. Goodbye, Goodness is a simultaneously hopeful and bleakly realistic, hilarious, and devastatingly sad book about the American dream coming to the end of the line.
Brumbaugh writes with the exquisite, tossed-off precision of a master chef preparing an early dinner for friends. Readers of Michael Cunningham, Rick Moody, Leonard Michaels, and Jeffrey Eugenides will be thrilled at the arrival of this new voiceand this new take on coming-of-age while fervently reckoning with the past.