Jonathan Raban

07 May 2004
320 pages


At the turn of the millennium, two immigrants are drawn to the United States by their own versions of the American Dream.

For Tom Janeway - a Hungarian-born English intellectual most at home with his books - it's the family he thought he'd never have. For Chick - an illegal alien newly escaped from a cargo container - it's the land of plenty he imagined back in China.

But as the stock market hits a new high, anti-globalist riots break out in the streets, a terrorist is arrested and a child disappears, the two men's dreams collide in a way neither could have anticipated. Unjustly accused of a horrific crime, estranged from his wife and his beloved young son, Tom's life is rapidly unravelling. Chick, meanwhile, has a burgeoning business by day but no safe place to lay his bed at night. For both, the New World proves surprisingly full of old ways.

Moving, funny and hugely entertaining, Jonathan Raban's Waxwings brilliantly captures the landscape and life of contemporary America.