“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.” – Elvis Presley
This is an amazing book set around the World’s Fair in Seattle in 1962 and the mayoral election in the same city in 2001. It is about the birth of a city and the nostalgia for being a part of it. It is about the power of a city and where that power resides. It is about the love for a city no matter what. And it is about a city’s secrets and how they can never be buried.
Roger Morgan pulled off the impossible in 1962 by staging the World’s Fair in a relatively unheard of city in America’s northwest. He put Seattle on the map, spurred the rapid development of the city and made a name for himself. 39 years later “Mr Seattle” as he is affectionately (and derisively) known decides he wants to run for mayor. He has had a hand in the city’s urban, social, political and cultural development but always from the backroom, wheeling and dealing with anyone and everyone. Spurred on by a change in the city he doesn’t like he decides to finally run for office and try to make a positive difference to the city he loves.
An ambitious young reporter smells a rat, though. Roger’s campaign is full of idealism and he is running on a platform as ‘the honest guy’. But why hasn’t he run before? His popularity after the World’s Fair made him a shoe-in for any political office but he has never run until now. She knows there is more to the story than meets the eye. She is determined to find the truth but not only must she get past the charm and charisma of Roger Morgan but she must also get past her newspaper which no longer seems to have the appetite for stories like the one she is unearthing. But while secrets can be hard to bury time will distort the truth.
This is a brilliant book than jumps between the idealism and nostalgia of the 60s and the cynical and cutthroat world of the early 2000s. It is a look at how a city works both now and then. The hands that need to be shaken, the backs scratched and their consequences. It is about wanting to do the right thing in a world where the right thing has shifted and is no longer clear. I loved this book from the opening lines to the poignant, beautiful end. A must read.