National Book Award Finalist: This autobiographical road-trip novel exploring life and politics in the 1950s became “an underground bestseller” (The Village Voice).
The year is 1956, and a blacklisted Hollywood agent sets off on a cross-country adventure from Los Angeles to New York City. Along the way—stopping at bars, all-night restaurants, and gas stations—the twenty-nine-year-old narrator, at once egotistical and compassionate, barrels across the “blue highways” to meet, fight with, love, and hate old comrades and girlfriends, collecting their stories and reflecting on his own life experiences.
Driven by probing stream-of-consciousness prose and brutally honest self-analysis, Going Away is a sprawling autobiographical journey into a kaleidoscope of American mindsets; most significantly, that of its radical narrator. Crammed with acute social and political observations, this urgent novel captures the spirit of its times, so remarkably like that of today.
An odyssey in the spirit of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Going Away is “a novel of major importance. There hasn’t been anything like it since TheGrapes of Wrath” (San Francisco Chronicle).
Clancy Sigal was born and raised in Chicago, the son of two labor organizers. He enlisted in the army and, as a GI in occupied Germany, attended the Nuremberg war crimes trials intending to shoot Herman Göring. Although blacklisted and trailed by FBI agents, he began work as a Hollywood agent on the Sunset Strip, hiding in plain sight and representing Humphrey Bogart, among many others.
Sigal moved to London in the 1950s and stayed in the UK for thirty years, writing and broadcasting regularly from the same BBC studios that George Orwell had used. During the Vietnam War, he was the “stationmaster” of a London safe house for American GI deserters and draft dodgers. For several years, he collaborated with the radical “anti-psychiatrists” R. D. Laing and David Cooper, with whom he founded Kingsley Hall in London’s East End, a halfway house for so-called incurable cases.
Sigal’s most recent book was the memoir Black Sunset: Hollywood Sex, Lies, Glamour, Betrayal, and Raging Egos (Soft Skull Press, 2016).