Winston Groom, author of nine books, wrote the acclaimed Vietnam War novel Better Times Than These, the prize-winning As Summers Die, and co-authored Conversations with the Enemy, which was nominated for a 1984 Pulitzer Prize. He is also the author of the No.1 New York Times bestsellers Forrest Gump and Gumpisms: The Wit and Wisdom of Forrest Gump. Mr Groom's Shrouds of Glory, an account of Confederate General John Bell Hood's decisive actions in the last great campaign of the US Civil War, was published in April, 1995. He lives in New York City and Point Clear, Alabama.
What happens when a literary writer produces a book that becomes a mass-market smash as a movie, and then feels compelled to write a sequel? In this case, he writes a picaresque saga that will dismay those who know Groom is capable of better stuff. This book opens on a down-and-out, disillusioned Gump, his ``srimp'' business ``ruint'' and his mama dead. Soon Jenny, his lifelong love, dies too-only to reappear as an advice-giving spirit when Gump needs her most. Gump begins a search for a job with which to support little Forrest, who is seven when the book begins (though Gump says 10 years have passed) and already savvier than his ``idiot'' father. Gump embarks on a series of farcical adventures that always culminate either with him fleeing an angry mob or ``thowed'' in jail. Along the way, he tries to find a new formula to save the ``CokeCola'' company; works for a pig farmer; sells bogus encyclopedias; and gets involved with Oliver North, who uses him in the arms-for-hostage negotiations with Iran. He meets a dotty President Reagan, a venal Rev. Jim Bakker and a financier named Ivan Bozosky. Gump encounters Tom Hanks and others at Elaine's restaurant; provokes the destruction of the Berlin Wall; captures Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War, only to be directed by General ``Scheisskopf'' to let him loose. Coincidences and pratfalls occur at a dizzying rate. Constantly ``shoveling shit'' as fast as he can, Gump learns ``don't never let nobody make a movie of your life's story.'' He gets that one right. Film rights to Paramount; audio rights to Simon & Schuster audio; British, translation, first serial rights: Raines and Raines; author tour. (Aug.)