Passages of Rebellion is a work of historical and political fiction that takes place, for the most part, in Minneapolis during the years, 1967-1970. The focus is on the anti-war and anti-draft activities of the protagonist, Frank Goodman. Moving back and forth in time, the novel follows Goodman in his interactions with his fellow draft resisters and his engagement with a variety of other characters – Mary Browne, his wife and fellow grad student in American Studies at the University of Minnesota, and a mysterious member of a group responsible for the bombing of the Army Math Center at the University of Wisconsin in late August of 1970.
The novel also flashes forward in time to highlight the radical feminism of Ruth Browne, Mary’s daughter, as she moves from her life in Michigan as the director of a Woman’s Shelter to graduate school at the University of Toronto. A confrontation between Ruth and Frank at his bookstore in Toronto, The Rebel, leads to a surprising revelation and resonances to present-day Minneapolis.
Using a variety of passages from the works of Albert Camus, James Baldwin, and Andrea Dworkin, among others, the novel explores questions of violence, from the international to the domestic sphere. Threaded throughout the text are other philosophical and literary references, including to Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. In effect, Passages of Rebellion investigates the meanings of rebellion found not only in numerous political, philosophical, and literary writings, but also in the very acts of resistance undertaken by the characters in the novel.
Critical Praise for Passages of Rebellion:
Fran Shor’s fine debut novel, Passages of Rebellion, is grounded in actual history with dates, events, and names that will be immediately recognized by anyone with even a minimal knowledge of the response to the War in Vietnam here at home. Shor gives us an honest look at characters based on real individuals and events during that era—who bring with them all the personal and political contradictions, idealism, courage, and principles found in the student antiwar and draft resistance movement. This is a very worthwhile read.
John Marciano, author of The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration?
Fran Shor has created a debut novel that not only tells the story of the birth of a radical antiwar activist through the life of Frank Goodman, but he has constructed a literary time machine back to a decade of rebellion, lost innocence, and the struggle for change and hope. Read it while listening to the raw power of Janis Joplin or wistful voice of Bob Dylan or while soaring with music of the Jefferson Airplane or The Rolling Stones and you will slip into a not so distant mirror to our times.
Marly Rusoff, a founder of the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis
During his time as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota (1967-1972), Fran Shor was an active anti-war organizer and draft resister. He has sustained a commitment to peace and justice, having served on the Boards of Peace Action of Michigan and Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. Retiring in 2014 after forty years of teaching at Wayne State University, he continues to publish in both scholarly and popular journals. His most recent book is Weaponized Whiteness: The Constructions and Deconstructions of White Identity Politics (Haymarket 2020).
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