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Harry Gets Wise: A novel

Harry Gets Wise: A novel


By Michael Vines



"Sometimes comic, sometimes dramatic. Always engrossing."

                     -Bill McClellan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch



Cutting off his big toe was the best decision of his life.


So begins Harry Gets Wise, an absorbing, sometimes funny, always heartfelt novel about an immigrant’s experience in a bygone America, the first in the Harry's Family Trilogy.


Harry Becker, a young shoemaker from Poland, settles in St. Louis in 1919 to escape the violence and oppression in his homeland and sets out to claim his small portion of the American Dream. But Harry’s ideals and belief in the promise of America are challenged not just by events in the larger world, such as the rise of Joe McCarthy, but also by those occurring right in his own backyard when his small shop is shaken down by two thugs, the brutal Tony the Pipe Allocco and the young wannabe, Carlo Barnini.Overlapping stories of his daughter, who struggles with her sexual identity in mid-20th century America, and Harry, who develops a relationship with Carlo Barnini that is by turns hilarious, touching, and dangerous, connect thematically as the tightly constructed plot unfolds. We see Harry grow from a naïf who unquestioningly believes in the goodness of America and the rule of law, to a man of hard-won, clear-eyed wisdom. It is a novel that will consistently surprise, engage, and move readers right up to its final poignant words.


About The Author


Michael Vines was born in St. Louis and received his Master’s degree in English from Columbia University. After grad school he began a career in advertising working as a copywriter and Creative Director for several of New York’s most renowned global agencies. He continues to live in New York City with his wife where he enjoys reading, writing, cooking, playing blues and rock guitar, and following politics and the St. Louis Cardinals.

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