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, this revised edition 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.
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, independent historian and author of The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration?
Fran Shor’s Passages of Rebellion weaves a detailed, time-shifting, and enlightening account of the odyssey of an idealistic, but flawed, Frank Goodman through his student years as a 1960s radical, into his later life when he is confronted with an unexpected and deeply emotional reckoning. A good read.
-Bill Haris, Detroit-based award-winning playwright and short story author
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
For those who haven’t been on earth long enough to know, there was another period in America when the country was at least as divided as it is now. In Passages of Rebellion, Fran Shor reminds us in dramatic fashion about the political and cultural turmoil this country experienced during the late 1960s. Moving back and forth between those turbulent times and more recent eras, Shor Crafts animated characters whose involvement with movements and events creates an illuminating mirror of the diverse passages of rebellion.
-Charles Salzberg, two-time Shamus Award Nominee and Beverly Hills Book Award winner