American Janus* is a novel of the South and its reckoning with the Civil war and Reconstruction. It is the story of a North Carolina Confederate veteran and his family at the dawn of the 20th century. While looking forward to the promise of the future, Harper Clayton can never truly slip his inescapable past as a soldier in the American Civil War and Freedmen's agent during Southern Reconstruction.
*Janus--the Roman god of new beginnings and transitions. Janus is portrayed as having two faces, one looking to the future and one the past.
Douglas Shouse is an amateur historian with a special passion for the history of the American South. He has spent more than thirty years as a marketing strategist in consumer brand marketing where he honed his craft in creative writing. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a BA in Economics and MBA from WFU's School of Management. He is also the author of The Almond Tree, a story of eccentric devotion.
American Janus is a beautifully written book that transports the reader back in time to experience the formative years of the United States in the South through the eyes of its characters. The prose is both captivating and elegant, the characters and their relationships are well-developed and interesting, and one is easily swept up in the life of Harper Clayton and his family. I can’t wait for the sequel.J Burbridge
I absolutely loved reading this story and I asked myself why I found it so compelling. My answers came down to the rich layers of storytelling that are so effectively woven together to create this excellent work of historical fiction.The first layer is a rich and captivating narrative comprised of characters that I’ve come to truly care about. The second layer is the effort of these characters to navigate, in this period of the late 1800s, many of the long-standing social justice issues that we continue to struggle with today.. The third layer, and what I find to be so unique about this book, is the author’s ability, via his vivid use of language and phrasing, to transport me back in time so effectively. I can taste the candied yams,, smell the wood smoke in the air, bask in the warmth radiating from the hearth and feel the embrace of a resilient family. This rich story works on so many levels that it’s hard to imagine any avid reader won’t be transported, like I was, to NC 120 years ago; a world that is so different, yet at the same time so similar to our lives today.T Considine
Although American Janus tells the story of a Civil War veteran and his family, the themes of the book still resonate today. Through the Clayton family, Shouse transports the reader to the Piedmont of NC in 1900. Winston is a typical small Southern town with a strong sense of community. Its developing industrial base of tobacco and textiles creates a two-tier economy dividing wealthy and working class. Shouse explores the joys and heartbreaks as residents struggle to move forward and shape a place that works for all. It also deals with the trauma of war. I fell in love with all the characters and would love to see American JanusC Skaa
brought to life as a streaming series!