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And Sonsby David Gilbert
With piercing wit, And Sons is a hilarious and heartfelt look at the generations of two prominent East Coast families. Skewering everything from the publishing world to Hollywood to father/son relationships, Gilbert is spot-on with his satire and crafts a great story.
Synopses & Reviews
The funeral of Charles Henry Topping on Manhattan’s Upper East Side would have been a minor affair (his two-hundred-word obit in The New York Times notwithstanding) but for the presence of one particular mourner: the notoriously reclusive author A. N. Dyer, whose novel Ampersand stands as a classic of American teenage angst. But as Andrew Newbold Dyer delivers the eulogy for his oldest friend, he suffers a breakdown over the life he’s led and the people he’s hurt and the novel that will forever endure as his legacy. He must gather his three sons for the first time in many years — before it’s too late.
So begins a wild, transformative, heartbreaking week, as witnessed by Philip Topping, who, like his late father, finds himself caught up in the swirl of the Dyer family. First there’s son Richard, a struggling screenwriter and father, returning from self-imposed exile in California. In the middle lingers Jamie, settled in Brooklyn after his twenty-year mission of making documentaries about human suffering. And last is Andy, the half brother whose mysterious birth tore the Dyers apart seventeen years ago, now in New York on spring break, determined to lose his virginity before returning to the prestigious New England boarding school that inspired Ampersand. But only when the real purpose of this reunion comes to light do these sons realize just how much is at stake, not only for their father but for themselves and three generations of their family.
In this daring feat of fiction, David Gilbert establishes himself as one of our most original, entertaining, and insightful authors. & Sons is that rarest of treasures: a startlingly imaginative novel about families and how they define us, and the choices we make when faced with our own mortality.
“Big, brilliant, and terrifically funny.” Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
“Smart and savage....Seductive and ripe with both comedy and heartbreak, [& Sons] made me reconsider my stance on...the term ‘instant classic.’” NPR
“A big, ambitious book about fathers and sons, Oedipal envy and sibling rivalry, and the dynamics between art and life...[& Sons] does a wonderful job of conjuring up its characters’ memories...in layered, almost Proustian detail.” Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“[A] smart, engrossing saga....Perfect for fans of Jonathan Franzen or Claire Messud.” Entertainment Weekly
“This great big novel is...infused with warmth and wisdom about what it means to be a family.” The Boston Globe
“Audacious...[one of the year’s] most dazzlingly smart, fully realized works of fiction.” The Washington Post
“In terms of sheer reading pleasure, my favorite book this year was & Sons, David Gilbert’s big, intelligent, richly textured novel about fathers, sons, friendship, and legacies....From [A. N.] Dyer’s slacker sons to a J. Crew-wearing young seductress, every member of Gilbert’s cast of characters is perfectly drawn.” Ruth Franklin, The New Yorker
About the Author
David Gilbert is the author of the story collection Remote Feed and the novel The Normals. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, GQ, and Bomb. He lives in New York with his wife and three children.
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