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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for Can You See The Wind?
Book cover for Can You See The Wind?

A story of family—whether the one you inherit or the one you create—bound together and torn apart in the struggle for a better world.

Change rarely comes easily or without a fight. In her much-anticipated fourth novel Beverly Gologorsky takes a close, loving look at the members of a working-class family in the Bronx, each in their own way struggling for a better world. At the heart of the story is Josie, a young woman whose fraught relationship with her family is further stretched by her commitment to anti-Vietnam War activities and her deepening relationship with a rising star in the Black Panther Party. Her brother Johnny is a police officer, rough and judgmental. Closest in age to Josie is sweet Richie, who, inexplicably to her, has just become an enlisted soldier. Her sister Celia is pulled toward activism in the women's fight for equality, but paralyzed by fear for her eldest son who may or may not have blown up an enlistment center. Their lives intertwine through acts of violence, loyalty, and, above all, the bonds of family love and loss. One thing is certain--that in the long run of life, change is inevitable.

Book cover for Can You See The Wind?
Book cover for Can You See The Wind?

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“Beverly Gologorsky may be our wisest chronicler of the lives of working-class women, shining her light on the deepest truths as only a profoundly gifted novelist can do. Can You See the Wind? is a stunningly moving story about the devastation of the Vietnam War on a single family. It is also a story of courage, resilience, friendship, and unbreakable love.”

“A riveting story that retrieves for us all a piece of our history­­—a few transformational years between 1967 and 1971—the overlapping crises of racism and war, struggles for peace, Black liberation, and early feminist awakenings—all against formidable odds. Gologorsky weaves the complex threads into a tight fabric of gorgeous, spare writing about political resistance, a passionate love affair, and a family saga—a story of our collective past told through the lives of unforgettable characters. And in a kind of miraculous way it becomes as well a story of our own time—its upheavals, uncertainties, and commitments, the slow pace of change and the redemption of action and of love.”

“Women and poets see the truth arrive./Then it is acted out,/The lives are lost, and all the newsboys shout,” wrote Muriel Rukeyser. Taut with the urgency of direct action, Can You See the Wind? indelibly portrays one such seer caught up in the 1960s anti-war movement. Naive and brave, self-doubting yet determined, young Josie bursts with a passion to interrupt the destruction in Southeast Asia; for her, the catastrophe is deeply personal, given how many boys from her hardscrabble Bronx neighborhood are getting drafted or enlisting. Of particular note is this novel’s honesty about the price of activism, given the stranglehold of all those ligatures of injustice—gendered, racial, and class-based—that have choked American life from that day to this. Tragic and tender, furious and inspired, Can You See the Wind? movingly suggests that the “better world” we long for is not an object in the future but a space of freedom and connection forged by struggle in the present.”

“Beverly Gologorsky brings a clarity of vision and purpose to this extraordinary novel - a story about the complexities and love that both bring families, lovers and comrades together and tears them apart. This is a book that renders the urgency of political movements as well as moments of individual contemplation. That she does so in breathtaking prose is a testament to her brilliance and artistry.”

“With her usual honest, frank and perceptive style, Beverly Gologorsky has written a penetrating novel about the era of the Vietnam War and Black Panthers that explores the moral complexities of political activism and how they interact with love and family. Can You See the Wind? is a riveting read.”

“The author’s prose sings, but her agenda to explore the political vagaries of the time undermines the character development. Readers will nevertheless appreciate this apt depiction from the front lines of a difficult time in the nation’s history.”

“The sections of the book that describe the tender and volatile relationship between Melvin and Josie are among the best sections in the book, though there are other sections that are also powerful, including one that takes place in a courtroom, another behind bars and yet another in a Black church. ... Reading “Can You See the Wind?” can and does feel like watching a newsreel that captures in soundbites and images the topics of the day, from riots in the streets and underground cells to Attica and women’s marches on the Pentagon. The novel races along, though now and then it also slows down long enough for the characters to sit side-by-side and talk, watch TV, share food, enjoy sex, think deep thoughts about the past, the present and the future.”

“Utterly fantastic and completely believable, This is how I would describe Beverly Gologorsky’s most recent novel, Can You See the Wind. Set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it is the tale of a family caught up in the politics, culture and the battles these provoked in that period. It is a political novel that relies on human relationships and the tangled emotions therein to make its point. Like any good fiction, the characters are complex and more than mere puppets; the complexity of the human heart is matched by the thoughtfulness of their politics and the nature of their loves. Likewise, their inter-familial relationships are genuine and defy simplicity.”

Beverly Gologorsky

BEVERLY GOLOGORSKY is the author of the acclaimed novel The Things We Do to Make It Home, which was named a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Best Fiction book, and a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great Writers Award, as well as the novels Stop Here ("unflinching, piercing," according to Elizabeth Strout), Every Body Has a Story, Can You See The Wind?. Her work has appeared in many anthologies and magazines, including the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Nation. A former editor of two political journals, Viet-Report and Leviathan, Gologorsky has contributed to Feminists Who Changed America, Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered From All Sides, and The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women's True-Life Tales of Friendships That Blew Up, Burned Out or Faded Away. She lives in New York and Maine.