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The Lost Legends of New Jerseyby Frederick Reiken
Synopses & Reviews
Romeo and Juliet in northern New Jersey? Yiddish constellations in Asbury Park? A garbage dump in the Meadowlands that's filled with old musical instruments from a high school marching band? Love and sex, hockey and snorkeling, a family that is falling apart despite the best intentions-this is what Frederick Reiken has delivered in his brilliant second novel.
But the real subject is true love, the one and only — known in Yiddish as b'shert. Anthony Rubin, the young protagonist, isn't sure whether he's found it with his neighbor, Juliette, daughter of a reputed Mafioso. His mother, who quits the family after her husband's affair with a neighbor, doesn't believe in true love at all. But his father does, and so does Anthony's grandpa, who meets the love of his life at 78.
Reiken is known for creating characters you feel you've known all your life, for mapping landscapes with profound intimacy and wonder. The Lost Legends of New Jersey is a rich, resonant book, filled with joy as well as heartbreak, and the extraordinary magic that can arise within ordinary lives.
"[A] rich, seductive mythology out of the ordinary places and people of the Garden State." Los Angeles Times
"Frederick Reiken's novel about the end of innocence is also a valentine to suburban Jersey." Chris Bohjalian, Boston Globe
"[A] beautifully told story of bad choices, good intentions, and the price of intimacy." Chicago Tribune
"[A] witty novel that bribes us to accept its painful moments with the sheer delight of unlikely romance." Christian Science Monitor
From the critically acclaimed author of The Odd Sea, a poignant and magical coming-of-age story that "deftly explores the mysteries of love and loss" (Time)
It's the early 1980s and the suburban streets of New Jersey are filled with Bruce Springsteen-era teenagers searching for answers. Anthony Rubin is a rising high school hockey star faced with a family that is falling apart. His father has had an affair with Anthony's best friend's mother and his own mother has abandoned the family for Florida. Confronted with an overwhelming sense of loss, Anthony focuses on the one thing he feels he can save-the tough-talking daughter of a reputed Mafioso, a Juliet to his Romeo. Merging the commonplace and the mythological, Frederick Reiken's richly layered second novel presents unforgettable characters whose lives seem at once familiar and archetypal. Filled with joy as well as heartbreak, The Lost Legends of New Jersey is a rich, resonant tale of the extraordinary magic that can arise within ordinary lives.
A New Jersey teenager deals with his rising success as a star hockey player while his family is falling apart.
About the Author
Frederick Reiken holds a B.A. from Princeton and an M.F.A. from the University of California, Irvine. His first novel, The Odd Sea, was chosen by Booklist as one of the 20 Best First Novels of the Year and won the Hackney Literary Award. He lives in Boston and teaches graduate writing classes at Emerson College.
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