Published 1969 by Harper & Row Co.
Published in London by Hamish Hamilton, Ltd.
National Anthem is about…
why the United States should annex Canada,
how very rich corporations got that way,
the perils of (even innocent) infidelity,
why you should avoid college reunions,
the best way to scramble eggs,
what color God is,
the revenge of the long-suffering Apachaho Indians,
how to run your own private army, and – like that.
National Anthem is performed by…
Christopher Kwait, known as Kit, who is:
a pillar of the community,
a paragon of decorum,
on excellent terms with everyone he knows,
without a trauma to his name – and monumentally hung up over his total adjustment to life. He pays allegiance to no hero, no cause, no enterprise, no institution. It is time, he decides, to change his being, to abandon contentment – to live.
National Anthem’s chorus includes…
Shag Shaughnessy, bigmouthed barkeep turned soldier of fortune;
Gibby Good, mousy assistant professor, on sabbatical to complete a seminal work tentatively titled The New Dionysian Ego;
Connie Capehart Colton, wonderful and marvelous graduate student, classical guitarist, kiteflyer, and hubcap stealer;
Leonard Lifeline, crass skyscraper-building mogul and tireless gatherer of certified art masterpieces, and his decorative wife, Cynthia;
Pat Pratt, police detective and moonlighting proprietor of a rug-cleaning establishment,
and many more oddballs, lovable or otherwise.
National Anthem is: an angst-defying rampage, an orgy of irreverence, and rather a funny novel in the egotistical author’s opinion.
©2017 Richard Kluger