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Best Friends: A Novelby Thomas Berger
Synopses & Reviews
Roy Courtright is good-looking, healthy, independent, well liked, and the owner of a successful classic car dealership. His best friend, Sam Grandy, is the near inverse: married, a spendthrift, overweight, needy, and near bankruptcy. Yet they've been inseparable best friends since childhood. As best friends, they share a close and loving bond, often stronger than the relationships other men share with their girlfriends, siblings, even wives.
But in the twenty years since their friendship began, those fundamental differences have become more apparent and their relationship has grown strained. When the two friends encounter serious problems, they're forced to reckon with each other. Do these differences threaten their friendship — or are the dissimilarities what make it possible? Can they escape the ties of their past, or are they intrinsically bound until death?
When Sam's health begins to falter, he draws Roy into his life again — and into a chain of deceit, sex, delusion, death, and love such as only a best friend could. With exquisite wit and insidious wisdom, Best Friends weaves a powerful tale about friendship — and the complex loyalties involved.
"Berger's terrific plot takes several unforeseen and unsettling turns en route to its savage dénouement. And it's capped by an absolute killer of a final sentence. Nobody writes them like Thomas Berger. Not to be missed." Kirkus Reviews
"Berger's prose is deceptively straightforward, almost hypnotic, and among the many pleasures of Best Friends is the way he lights up the somewhat limited lives of his characters....Berger is a master of the unsettling narrative..." Jeffrey Frank, The Washington Post
"[A few] mild anachronisms certainly don't interfere...with this graceful tale of friendship and betrayal. Knowing what master storyteller Berger is capable of, they may even be deliberate, playful puzzlements." Booklist
"There is more than a hint in Best Friends of the ruthless and agile springs and traps in Choderlos de Laclos's great artifice, Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Here it is not the lovers who are entangled by them but, finally and lethally, Sam and Roy." Richard Eder, The New York Times
"I like this book a great deal. You will, too, if you like Berger or irony or unpredictable twists at the end. But be warned: If you're looking for the unrelieved solipsism we've come to expect from this fine writer, you won't find it in Best Friends." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"[A] page-turner. Berger succeeds with characterization, detail, ethical complication, and nuance, and the result is outstanding." Library Journal
"The minor characters are sharply drawn. Only the ending goes awry....It's rare for a writer of Berger's experience to have to resort to a patch-up job, but that seems to be what happened here." Los Angeles Times
"Slight on plot, but featuring some very strong and well-drawn characters....While it isn't his strongest work by any means, Best Friends proves Berger still has what it takes to write witty and insightful fiction." Denver Post
"As a guide to vintage cars, Best Friends is bad, and as a novel, it's wretched....The story is told in a stilted style heavy on Latinisms and ponderous sentences, making parts of Best Friends read like a legal brief." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
"Either you relate to these people as they stumble blindly through life, or you want to spank them for their childish ways. In the end, Best Friends is a mundane cautionary tale about the unexamined life." Seattle Times
How do we choose our best friends? Berger explores our motivations in choosing our companions — and the consequences of keeping or quitting them.
About the Author
Thomas Berger is the author of twenty-three novels. His previous novels include Adventures of the Artificial Woman, Meeting Evil, Neighbors, and The Feud, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His Little Big Man is known throughout the world.
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