We've barely started planning it, but we're looking at October, and at doing reading, signing, speaking, and maybe teaching gigs at a conference, some indie bookstores, my alma mater the University of Utah, my home town of Bountiful and maybe the high school Shake attended. A couple of hometown buddies are even talking Costco. We'll be covering as much of the state as we can, including Dead Horse Point (in photo) where I could read "Utah Died for Your Sins" from the cliff where this photograph was taken, and then to the southern Utah ranch where this all started, where I could read the sheep and coyotes and mountain lions to sleep while Shake plays "Mood Indigo."
Publication Date Met! The second book of the trilogy, Of the World, is available now in paperback and Kindle from Amazon and in Nook from Barnes & Noble. My gratitude to all of you who read and loved Journey and have been waiting for the continuation of Shake Tauffler's story. Sixteen now, licensed to drive, armed with his trumpet and a talented band, he slips the harness of his home and neighborhood to test himself in the raw world of the streets and nightclubs of Salt Lake and its outlying towns. The Huck Finn days of Journey are over. This is the rebel Shake, haunted by the faceless mystery of never being good enough and a hunger he can’t name, roaming the night alone or with his hoodlum pals, looking for refuge in cars, girls, violence, the cry of his trumpet, the faces of the American night. This time there's a love story waiting down the road for him.
“Much as Harper Lee did when she took us down South in To Kill a Mockingbird, or J.D. Salinger did when he put us into Holden Caulfield’s head, Max Zimmer immerses us in 1960s Mormon America. Shake Tauffler is as conflicted as any character we might encounter. While harboring passions for jazz, the trumpet, fast cars, and a beautiful young woman, he has been groomed his whole life for something else: life as an emissary for the Mormon Church that could, if he passes the ultimate test, culminate in his own godhood in everlasting life. The artistry of this novel goes beyond the story line to paint us a picture, sing us a song with words that skip, spin, jump and slide from scene to scene. Zimmer continues to take us on a journey we can’t wait to complete.”
– Diane Cole, book reviewer and former editorial writer, Salt Lake Tribune
Journey - The Beginning Years
Journey is the first book of the groundbreaking new trilogy If Where You’re Going Isn’t Home, the story of young Shake Tauffler, his dream to play jazz trumpet, and his ten-year journey through the heart of what it is to grow up Mormon in America. Journey traces his first four years through the ranks of his father’s take-no-prisoners religion and follows him on a second journey, on his own, to a place whose high priests are the negro greats of jazz, men his religion teaches him are cursed but from whose music he learns everything he dreams of being. It is available in kindle, epub, and paperback on line and at your local bookstore.
From A Five Star Review - Journey
“Max Zimmer is an exceptionally talented writer and storyteller. He develops Shake’s character so well that readers are certain to feel that they know him. Readers from their teens on up, regardless of religion, will identify with Shake as he begins to challenge everything he has been brought up to believe. The beauty of the book’s prose carries the tale almost flawlessly through the highs and lows of Shake’s life. Zimmer presents an exquisite story about a believably complex young man approaching adulthood. Journey is a solid, thoroughly enjoyable book that satisfies from the very first page. And at the end, it leaves readers begging Zimmer to deliver on his promise, ‘to be continued.’”
– Cheryl M. Hibbard, ForeWord Clarion Five Star Review of Journey
FROM THE CO-FOUNDER OF ZOLA BOOKS
“Max Zimmer has written The Great American Mormon Novel. For decades, readers have depended upon a few extraordinary writers to understand fully what it means to be an American – Philip Roth, Julia Alvarez, Ralph Ellison, Erica Jong, John Updike. Zimmer has added a critical new dimension to our shared national understanding of who we are and how we got here in this sweeping narrative. Twelve-year-old Shake Tauffler's decade-long journey through the Mormon Church and beyond will resonate with all Americans who ponder their soul and place in our changing national portrait.”
– Michael Strong, literary agent and co-founder of Zola Books
FROM A NEW YORK LITERARY AGENT
“Max Zimmer writes beautifully. His prose has a natural rhythm and grace that is testimony to his having honed his craft for a long time so that it's no longer just craft but real art. There are many scenes that will stick with me forever.”
– Markus Hoffmann, literary agent, Regal Literary, New York
My name’s Max Zimmer and I’m the author of the trilogy If Where You’re Going Isn’t Home, the story of twelve-year-old Shake Tauffler, his dream to play jazz trumpet, and his ten-year odyssey through the heart of what it’s like to grow up Mormon in America. Book 1, called Journey, is available now. Book 2, Of the World, met its publication date of June 17th and is now also available in paperback and ebook formats.
I’ve filled the space on this site with some things you may want to look at – some fiction, a couple of poems, a sketch of who I am and where I’m from, testimonials from readers, editorial reviews, a magazine column, and projects I’m working on now and down the road. There’s also a blog. Please browse around, feel free to jot down your thoughts, ask questions, start or join a conversation, let me know about you, and leave some stuff of your own. Thanks for stopping in, and I hope you’ll stop back. Good things ahead!
Readings, Jazz Standards, and Book Signings
Max returns home to Utah to introduce his groundbreaking new trilogy, If Where You’re Going Isn’t Home, to audiences in his home towns of Bountiful and Salt Lake.
Max will read selections from Books 1 and 2 of the trilogy, Journey and Of the World, field questions, and sign books. The events will include live piano renditions of some jazz standards that run through the trilogy. Each event will feature different reading and song selections to make the event a unique experience.