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Novelist Grant Grinder Appearing Thursday at Laguna Beach Books

The writer will speak and sign books at the free event.

Story submitted by Laguna Beach Books:

Laguna Beach Books is pleased to welcome Grant Ginder, author of Driver’s Education, who will be speaking and signing books Thursday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. There is no charge for this event.

Driver’s Education, the second novel from Grant Ginder, is an eccentric portrait of three generations of McPhee men and the power of their fantastic stories — which blur the boundaries of fiction, reality, and truth — to unite them.  It’s “the kind of book that will make other young writers crumple their manuscripts and unplug their computers,” says National Book Critics Circle Award winner Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life and Chang and Eng, calling it “a meticulously observed family story; a social fiction that involves everything from reality TV to truth-telling in the Internet age; funny and sad, smart and exciting.”  The novel combines the twists, turns, and magic of a perfect road trip with the joy, resentment, and deep love that hold a grandfather, father, and son together.

Finn thought his grandfather’s story — all of his stories — were over by now.  But when the dying man phones from San Francisco with a strange request, Finn is given the chance to go on one of the great Alastair McPhee’s adventures.  Once, Alastair roamed the country in a beloved, tetchy ’56 Bel Chevy Air named Lucy, getting into trouble and collecting stories that have since taken on the status of myth. Now he wants Finn to find the old car in New York City and bring her to him, revisiting the sites of those exploits along the way. “She’s in Chinatown with a man named Yip,” Alastair whispers.

The McPhee men are fabulists almost by nature. For years, Alistair amused barroom audiences with yarns about taking shelter from a wrecking ball inside a makeshift house built of records, catching Ernie Banks’ 500th home run, and falling in love with a beautiful pilot who gave up her chance at fame and decided to never grow old. While he was out wandering, mourning a wife who died too soon, his son Colin raised himself, turning a devotion to movies into a career as a screenwriter — a career that stalled after a single breakout success.

“If there was one thing my father taught me, it was that endings never work out the way you want them to,” Colin writes. But on this exquisitely crafted journey, Colin and Finn learn that their stories are bigger than the mundane facts behind them. And that endings can be rewritten — and in the rewriting, they can become far more true.

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