The George Washington Constellation

 In “The George Washington Constellation,” Edward Correia shares the fictional story of a new Senator who must stare down failure, public embarrassment and his young child’s tragedy after being thrown into the political world of Washington. 


 In many ways, it is more difficult to describe what a novel is about because, as the story develops, readers react differently and can take away very different ideas. It is possible to state the main idea of the book, at least from my perspective. One is that politics can extract a high price from the politician himself and his family. Another is that we can often find some important truths through facing difficult challenges and these can give us insights about what is most important in our lives. The principal character in The George Washington Constellation is David Buckthorn, a small town attorney who unexpectedly becomes a United States Senator. He struggles with political life in Washington and his attempts to do something useful. He realizes that his political ambitions have put a huge burden on his family, particularly his wife. David’s grandfather, Zeke, is the spiritual center of the novel. He provides a perspective that David does not completely accept but that still provides a fundamental guide for living. David offers these thoughts at the end of the novel: 


 "What would you say Zeke, if you had been able to see all this? Would you remind me that the lilies of the field grow without tending, that they do nothing to deserve their beauty except live on God’s earth? Would you tell me that every time the wind blows there is a reason, that little girls lose tennis matches, even lose their arms, for some reason that God only knows, that the fish of the sea and the animals of the land and the people who pretend to have dominion over the earth, but really don’t, are all part of God’s great and mysterious plan and that God cares for all his creatures and whatever happens to them is for the best? Yes, you would tell me something like that. And, at some other time, I would quarrel with you and say that there is no great master plan, that the world is filled with tragedies that make no sense because there is no sense to them, that the goodness in life is in making choices and meaning comes from standing up to whatever life brings…The human spirit has beauty and purity and strength of purpose, I would not quarrel with you. Because when you get right down to the basics, you did have it right, Zeke. We are not quite like the lilies of the field, but neither are we like molecules pounding against a glass. Perhaps we are canoeists, paddling desperately to stay upright, while the river beneath us crashes and tumbles. Somehow we avoid the wild, dark water that threatens to pull us
down, and, in the end, we manage to drag the canoe out onto the shore, exhausted from paddling and crashing into rocks. Zeke would kneel down over the canoeist and say, “You see, God really does love you.” There certainly would be no point in arguing. The canoeist would just lie back on the grass, panting, feeling his arms and legs to see if bones were
broken. And, when he caught his breath and decided he would go on living, he would begin to smile and watch the leafed branches swing against the sky."

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 BETHESDA, Md. – In “The George Washington Constellation” (ISBN 1469974770), author Edward Correia portrays a young man from rural Wyoming who unexpectedly finds himself a United States Senator. David Buckthorn is a small town lawyer whose life is forever altered when he rescues two children from the flaming wreck of a car accident. The incident makes David a hero, and the state Republican party drafts him to run what they expect will be a losing race against a popular incumbent. Instead, David triumphs in an upset victory, making him Wyoming’s newest senator. 


 Out of his depth in the politics of Washington, David will have to draw on his inner strength to survive personally and politically. By the end of his first term, his legislation is quashed by resentful colleagues and his re-election bid is threatened by a rival who targets his wife’s most intimate history. 


In addition to these challenges, the young couple must deal with their four-year-old daughter’s bone cancer which takes her arm. As David achieves fame and power, he realizes that his own family and ethical values are far more important to him than political success. He relies for spiritual insights on his grandfather, a minister in a small Wyoming church. 


 Political junkies will be intrigued at the novel’s detailed depictions of behind closed doors deals and the seamier side of political campaigns. The book’s vivid scenes are brought to life by author Correia’s insider experience in America’s capital, where he served for years as a senior counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and to an Ohio senator. His small town background also help him create genuine characters who surround David. The moral challenges and personal dramas faced by David will resonate with anyone who has been forced to choose between protecting loved ones and achieving fame and success. 

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