top of page
  • Writer's picturekensch88

Second Acts by Tim W. Brown

Second Acts is a comic historical novel set in 1830s America, a time of great social upheaval and reform fervor, not unlike the 1960s. The novel tells the story of a young man, Dan Connor, who has followed his wife Rachel and her lover Bruce Bilson, a University of Chicago physics professor and the inventor of time travel, into the past. In his journey he obtains a mystical sidekick, a Potawatomi transvestite named Listening Rabbit (aka Bunny), and he befriends historical figures such as Albert Gallatin and Samuel J. Tilden. Rachel and Bilson maddeningly stay one step ahead of Connor. But as time moves forward, Connor’s fortunes rise while Bilson’s fall, and Rachel attains fame as a lyceum speaker, the Oprah of antebellum America. Second Acts refutes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s notion that “There are no second acts in American lives.”

Based on 10,000 pages of historical research, Second Acts describes 19th century life and culture while it satirizes timeless aspects of the American character with the same biting candor, dry wit, and laugh-out-loud moments as Brown’s earlier novels Deconstruction Acres, Left of the Loop, and Walking Man.

About the Author: TIM W. BROWN graduated summa cum laude with an American studies degree from Northern Illinois University. He is the author of three novels, Deconstruction Acres (1997), Left of the Loop (2001) and Walking Man (2008). His latest literary effort is Second Acts, a comic historical novel set in 1830s America. Brown’s fiction, poetry and nonfiction have appeared in over two hundred publications, including Another Chicago Magazine, The Bloomsbury Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Chelsea, Chiron Review, Colorado Review, The Fiction Review, The Ledge, Main Street Rag, New Observations, Oyez Review, Pleiades, Poetry Project Newsletter, Rain Taxi, Rockford Review, Slipstream, Small Press Review, and Storyhead. A long-time resident of Chicago, where he was a fixture in that city’s literary scene as a writer, performer, and publisher of Tomorrow Magazine (1982-1999), Brown moved to New York in 2003. He currently earns his living as a writer at Bloomberg LP.

Praise: “Really clicking, Second Acts is a picaresque, sci-fi/western, such as Verne or Welles might have penned it. In subverting history Brown’s tale celebrates it, with a scholar’s eye for authentic details and at a pacing so swift the pages give off a nice breeze.” –Peter Selgin

“Half-magical, half-farcical, Second Acts is full of vitality and humor, a modern update of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Second Acts is a sparkling gem of a book, one that inspires both contemplation and more than a few belly laughs.” –Greg Downs

Second Acts draws equally upon history and imagining, and the result is a brilliant book that Mark Twain might’ve written had he shared a brain with Jack Finney for awhile.” –Sharon Mesmer

“With Second Acts Tim W. Brown may well have written his masterpiece. In this surprising, satisfying novel, he channels Twain. Brown’s clever construction, arch humor and unforgiving candor are on hand as ever, but they’re leavened this time by a goodly dose of heart. Funny, engaging, relatable and even educational, it’s a great read.” –Paul McComas

Fact Sheet for Second Acts October 2010 Trade Paper 206 Pages ISBN 978-1-928589-51-8 Gival Press, Arlington, VA Available through Ingram from BookMasters,, & other outlets.

Click here for the link: Buy it at

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page