By Ethan Canin
480 pages. Random House.
Even the title is invigorating, a splash of nostalgia and hope. Ethan Canin's America America (Random House) returns us to the Nixonian 1970s, when reformers dreamed of changing the political climate even as their actions polluted it. Narrated by a sadder and wiser Corey Sifter, once a working-class boy recruited in the "primal battle" of electoral politics by his wealthy mentor, this novel has at its center a charismatic presidential candidate and an unspeakable crime. Politicians—and weary voters: Take this to the beach.