StudioTulsa
1:17 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Novelist and Scholar (and Former Tulsan) Michael Hightower on His New Novel: "The Pattersons"

On today's edition of StudioTulsa, we're pleased to welcome back an old friend, Michael Hightower, who lived and worked in Tulsa for about two decades, starting in 1980, and who, for most of that time, owned and presided over Council Oak Books. Now based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Hightower joins us to talk about his new novel, "The Pattersons," a work of historical fiction as well as modern-day sociological commentary that occasionally draws on Hightower's own life story. The novel mainly concerns a married couple, Ellen and Marshall Patterson; Ellen is a former environmental lawyer --- whose ambition and idealism have steadily faded away, ever since she left the law --- and Marshall is what Hightower calls "a reluctant executive," a man who was born into a prosperous oil-and-gas family in Kansas --- but who once dreamed of doing other things with his life. "The Pattersons" is thus a tale of family, class, privilege, ennui, and regret --- and, ultimately, of reinventing one's life with the arrival of middle age. It's a novel that depicts a community (indeed, an entire culture) that --- when grappling with the boredom and self-destruction that can stem from a life of wealth and power --- suddenly finds itself at odds with the American Dream. You can learn more about this book, and more about Hightower's other writings, at the author's website.

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