Dream City: A Novel (Western Literature and Fiction Series) (Hardcover)

Dream City: A Novel (Western Literature and Fiction Series) By Douglas Unger Cover Image

Dream City: A Novel (Western Literature and Fiction Series) (Hardcover)


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In this unconventional tale of Las Vegas during the two delirious boom decades before the bust of the Great Recession, failed actor “C. D.” Reinhart, who has launched a new career in hotel marketing, is gradually losing his moral and existential compass. Working on The Strip during an era when Sin City’s population growth was outpacing any other place in America, C. D. climbs the industry ladder while modeling himself after a Pyramid Resorts top executive, Lance Sheperd. C. D.’s professional choices lead him down a tumultuous road, as Sheperd, a complex and, at times, visionary figure, pilots his ventures through the tangled wheeling and dealing of finance and corporate politics straight into catastrophe.

As the story progresses, C. D. comes to understand how his personal losses and the losses of his cohort of hard driving executives on the make—especially the tragic life of his work partner, Greta Olsson, the only woman to break through into their male dominated world—are a result of the make-believe environment he has helped to create, a world where representation replaces reality. Hoping to piece together his faltering marriage and family relationships, C. D. must find a new path as he struggles to hold onto his dreams.

In this fictionalized version of the city of glittering lights, author Douglas Unger pits the ideologies of marketing and consumerism in the casino economy of America against the erosion of individual and humane values that success in that world demands. Unger reveals the hard truth that Las Vegas, a blue-collar town considered by many to be “the most honest city,” can be a temple for self-deceptions, emblematic of a service economy that knows the price of everything and too often the value of little else. Dream City becomes both a love song and an elegy for Las Vegas that sets it apart from any other literary novel previously written about this global entertainment attraction that in so many ways represents postmodern America. Sooner or later, the challenge that faces everyone is to discover what matters most, and to learn how to bet on the better angels of our natures.  
Douglas Unger has long been known as a writer of political fiction. He is the author of four novels, including Leaving the Land, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and Robert F. Kennedy Award, and Voices from Silence, a year’s end selection by The Washington Post’s Book World. He is also the author of the short story collection Looking for War and Other Stories. Unger’s writing has appeared in Narrative, Boulevard, Southwest Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Brooklyn Rail, and numerous other publications. He is cofounder of the MFA in Creative Writing International and the PhD with Creative Dissertation programs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he teaches in the Department of English affiliated with the Black Mountain Institute, an important literary center in the American West. Unger also serves on the executive board of Words without Borders. In 2007, he was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. 
Product Details ISBN: 9781647791650
ISBN-10: 1647791650
Publisher: University of Nevada Press
Publication Date: October 8th, 2024
Pages: 356
Language: English
Series: Western Literature and Fiction Series
 “What a smart and compelling way to investigate the moral slipperiness of Las Vegas— through building and construction, through all those involved in the making and unmaking of this city. Unger portrays these everchanging landscapes and the players within them with elegance and insight."
—Aimee Bender, author of The Butterfly Lampshade: A Novel, longlisted for the 2020 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award
The quintessential Las Vegas novel. Unger dwells in the details, and his evocation of the dream—and its painstaking construction—is utterly convincing. Build it and they will come—or maybe not.”
—T.C. Boyle, distinguished professor emeritus of English and writer in residence emeritus, University of Southern California, author of Blue Skies: A Novel