America Was Hard to Find

A Novel

by Kathleen Alcott

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780062662521
  • 9780062662545

In the wake of an affair, the lives of an astronaut and a radical are forever altered by the political fault lines of the 1960s, setting off a series of events ricocheting from anti-Vietnam activism to the Apollo program to the AIDS crisis, in this sprawling multigenerational novel

Ecuador, 1969: An American expatriate, Fay Fern, sits in the corner of a restaurant, she and her young son Wright turned away from the television where Vincent Kahn becomes the first man to walk on the moon.

Years earlier, Fay and Vincent meet at a pilots’ bar in the Mojave Desert. Both seemed poised for reinvention—the married test pilot, Vincent, as an astronaut; the spurned child of privilege, Fay, as an activist. Their casual affair ends quickly, but its consequences linger.

Though their lives split, their senses of purpose deepen in tandem, each becoming heroes to different sides of the political spectrum of the 1960s and 70s: Vincent an icon with no plan beyond the mission for which he has single-mindedly trained, Fay a leader of a violent leftist group whose anti-Vietnam actions make her one of the FBI’s most wanted. With her last public appearance, a demonstration that frames the Apollo program as a vehicle for distracting the American public from its country’s atrocities, Fay leaves Wright to contend with her legacy, his own growing apathy, and the misdeeds of both his mother and his country.

An immense, vivid reimagining of the Cold War era, America Was Hard to Find traces the fallout of the cultural revolution that divided the country and explores the meaning of individual lives in times of upheaval. It also confirms Kathleen Alcott’s reputation as a fearless and vital voice in fiction.


  • HarperCollins; May 2019
  • ISBN: 9780062662545
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: America Was Hard to Find
  • Author: Kathleen Alcott
  • Imprint: Ecco
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780062662521
  • 9780062662545

In The Press

“This novel is charged with the electricity of an intellect sharp and awake, and every instant of this story reverberates in us with the insistency of a deep longing. Amidst the noise of the world we live in, Alcott’s voice is the one I want to always hear.”

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780062662521
  • 9780062662545