“Lee Henderson fashions a boisterous, romantically dirty and cannibalistic universe in which one of the great American art forms (the newspaper comic strip) and one of the most controversial American presidents (Ronald Regan) are swirled together to create a brand new Peter Pan story about capitalism, art, selling out, and the darkness of growing up. A heartbreaking and surprising book.”
-Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?
From the award-winning author of The Man Game comes a highly entertaining and unendingly surprising novel about love, comics, Ronald Reagan – and the true meaning of success.
All Wendy Ashbubble has ever wanted is to draw comics as good as Charles Schultz’s Peanuts – and to one day see her creations grace the pages of a major daily newspaper. Growing up in Victoria in the 1970s, Wendy dreams of getting out, getting away… and getting recognition for her talent. And there’s another, never-whispered motivation that prompts her to seek out her fortune: a deeply-buried memory and unshakeable belief that her unknown father is Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States.
In a dilapidated artists’ commune in San Francisco, amid the haze of top-quality weed, unbridled creativity and unfettered sex, Wendy’s dream begins to take tangible shape. With the aid of Frank Fleecen, an up-and-coming bonds trader and agent, Wendy’s Strays are soon competing for newsprint space against the likes of Berkeley Breathed, Jim Davis, and Bill Watterston… even against Wendy’s beloved Charles Schultz himself.
But there are darker shades on the pencilled horizon: the spectre of AIDS, unexplained disappearances, bad therapy, junk bonds and demonology, and SEC agents investigating Frank’s business protocols.
The Road Narrows As You Go is simultaneously the portrait of a young woman struggling to find her place and a bright, rollicking, unflinching depiction of the 1980s. It embodies all the brash optimism and ruthless amoralism of the decade, as well as its preoccupations with repressed memories, and fully captures the flavour of an uncertain but deeply vibrant era.
“With this novel, Lee Henderson gives us the 1980s, and so much more: creative spark, ambition, sex, and the darker pulls of history, time, and death. Henderson is inventive, playful and deeply serious, and this ambitious novel includes all his gifts.”
-Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings
“[Lee Henderson] is one of the truly original writers we have in this country, capable of doing what many contemporary writers aspire to do: to legitimately blend the high and the low, the absurd and the sincere. His previous novel, The Man Game, was an exceptionally well-written, genuinely moving and audaciously imagined book that didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved. I would read anything he writes, even a book about a woman who secretly believes her father is Ronald Reagan.”
– David Bezmozgis, author of Natasha and Other Stories
“Henderson has contributed his own, outsized, rambunctious myth to the annals of comics, and of our literature.”
–The Globe and Mail
“A rollicking tour through the 1980s, exploring notions of creative work and art during the period…. Entertaining and raucous…. Henderson’s insightful scenes make this book a pleasure to read.”
– Toronto Star
“Henderson’s second novel hits you like BIF! BAM! POW! The Road Narrows as You Go recalls the playful panache of Thomas Pynchon, the absurdist humour of Mark Leyner and the heart of Peanuts.”
“…high-energy, deliciously smart…The Road Narrows As You Go is truly a fabulous read, but it is the conclusion that lifts this work to a whole other level. It doesn’t so much end as it reveals itself — beautifully, entirely — in the final breathtaking, heartbreaking moment.”
–Winnipeg Free Press
Penguin Canada, Fall 2014