Clickety Clack, Clickety Clack: Abe Lincoln’s Train Done Jumped the Track
By: Lee Williams
Length: 224 pages
Release date: Nov 24, 2013
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BOOTH: We’re fixing to assassinate you.
LINCOLN (chuckling): Hah! That’s it? Tell me something I don’t know.
Clickety Clack, Clickety Clack: Abe Lincoln’s Train Done Jumped the Track posits the Lincoln assassination and American Civil War as counter history. The novel’s troupe of modern-day actors visits Surratt Boardinghouse, Appomattox, the Garrett Farm (where assassin Booth was killed), the Navy Yard (where four of the conspirators were hanged) and, of course, Ford’s Theatre itself. They reenact such iconic scenes, hyping the theatrical aspects of each.
Meanwhile, a different history emerges over the pages of this novel, one that presupposes an 1861 assassination of Lincoln by saboteurs at Thomas Viaduct (outside of Baltimore) as he travels by train to his inauguration. In this “true” version, Vice President-elect Hannibal Hamlin goes on to serve four consecutive terms. The Civil War is averted, the South eventually rejoins the Union, and slavery is abolished bloodlessly. An era of Pax Americana reigns.
Along its rowdy and outrageous way, Clickety Clack upends binaries of history, race and gender.
Lee Williams’ previous novels:
The Lifeguard Murders: A South Beach Story, Rip Current Publishing, Miami Beach, November, 2009.
Author of Destiny: (Also Known as The Ochoa Case), Livingston Press, University of West Alabama, 2002. Invited writer at the Miami Book Fair 2002.
Cover illustration: Pablo Cano
Author photo at Thomas Viaduct: Laura and Max Vanderbeek
About the author:
Lee Isogai Williams' father once suggested to him that people should live life backwards, traveling while young and working in those later, decrepit years...
Williams has fulfilled the first part of this admonition by exploring Asia, Oceania, South America and Europe. The feats en route: circling the globe (11 months), kayaking Miami Beach to Baltimore (10 weeks), cycling Atlantic to Pacific (8 weeks) and walking Madrid to Lisbon (4 weeks). All the while writing. Feverishly writing.
While living in reverse, Williams has managed to pick up a B.S. in Journalism (University of Maryland - College Park), an M.A. in Spanish (Middlebury College - Madrid), and a Ph.D. in Romance Studies (University of Miami). A Fulbright fellowship in Uruguay, too.
His Japanese sweetheart eventually married him. They have two polyglot children, and the family splits its time between Kyushu and Miami.