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The Basement: A Novel of the Sixties

This novel tells the story of the re-entry of a Peace Corps Volunteer, who has served in Tanzania, returning to the United States in the middle of the Sixties, an entirely different country than the one he left. How does he cope, what choices are there to make, whose side is he on (if any)? The story is about finding one's footing in a rapidly changing world, in a rapidly changing body and relationships (or not) with women. The setting is in a college town, a basement rent-free, with plenty of beer and college girls. Meanwhile the narrator's mind goes back to the radically different culture and values of Africa, the assumptions before going, and the political tensions rising in even the simplest actions. The story is illustrated by the author, with scenes and people, to give a sense of place to the episodes. Though the novel is based on reality, part of the story is that reality itself was coming undone, in flux. The theme is, if anything, coping - coping with possibilities, exigencies, sexuality, in a time when it seemed that all options were on the table. The future was to be written in personal lives. One might call it a "coming of age of a late bloomer." Or "a piece of recent history from the underbelly of society." A sci-fi novel by the same author, The Martian Testament, explores the settlement, and unsettling conditions, on Mars twenty years or so from now. The book is at

Important places

Chimala (1)
Iowa City (21)


Johnson (22)


Mbeya (1)
Iowa (567)


Tanzania (140)
United States (64,950)

Other geographical areas

Eastern Africa (1,319)
Central Lowlands (North America) (1,334)
Upper Midwest (2,971)
Africa (5,755)