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And Sons

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ISBN13: 9780812993967
ISBN10: 0812993969
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Who is A. N. Dyer? And Sons is a literary masterwork for readers of The Art of Fielding, The Emperor’s Children, and Wonder Boys — the panoramic, deeply affecting story of an iconic novelist, two interconnected families, and the heartbreaking truths that fiction can hide.

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. And 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.

Review:

“David Gilbert’s And Sons is that novel you’ve been waiting for without knowing you were waiting. Big, brilliant, and terrifically funny, it’s a moving story about fathers and sons and success, a dead-on, deadpan retelling of our American literary myth.” Jess Walter

Review:

“I like novels about novelists, and surely everyone is a sucker for a story that begins at the funeral of a childhood friend — especially a funeral with such a sense of foreboding (‘we would all return to this church’). And Sons is not an easy novel to describe without giving too much of the story away. Why would the first-person narrator need to defend himself from ‘charges of narrative fraud’? Why is a seventeen-year-old Exeter student — the product, we are told, of an affair that ended the novelist’s marriage and estranged the writer from his older sons — likened to ‘a small boy overboard, possibly drowning’? Yes, the writing is gorgeous — not only the prose but the power of David Gilbert’s observations. ‘All things have a second birth,’ Gilbert writes, and later, ‘We all have something to steal.’ And have I mentioned, without giving it away, that this is a terrific story?” John Irving

Review:

“Informed by observation and memory rather than aspiration and fantasy, And Sons is a New York novel written by an actual New Yorker. David Gilbert is smart, funny, and empathetic, but most important, possessed of a true literary sensibility that is seasoned, not seasonal.” Fran Lebowitz

Review:

And Sons is not just a great book — maddeningly smart, mercilessly funny — it is, in all the ways that matter, a large one; it contains multitudes. Gilbert writes of fathers and sons, sons and lovers, the legacies of love and remorse we bestow on one another, the concentric rings that genius generates, with a fearlessness that allows him to go where he must and a talent profound enough to bring home the slipperiest contradictions, the hardest truths. The result is an often hilarious razor-cut portrait of the twenty-first-century emotional diaspora in which we live, and perhaps the finest rendering of creation and its discontents since Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus.” Mark Slouka, author of The Visible World

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

W S Krauss, December 28, 2013 (view all comments by W S Krauss)
David Gilbert is an amazing writing; his prose is brilliant. I felt that characters were real. While sometimes I tire of novels about men and their sons, and this is a familiar story, the device he uses to narrate the book is clever. Phillip Topping, our narrator, is the son of Charles Topping, who has just died as the book opens. Charles Topping was the best friend of Andrew Dyer since they were boys. Andrew Dyer is a famous writer in the same vein as J.D. Salinger. A.N. Dyer, as he is know as a writer, is a somewhat reclusive and gruff old man, with a teenage son who supposedly is the result of an affair with a woman other than his wife. Dyer and his wife are divorced because of the affair and Andrew Dyer is raising the boy, Andy Dyer. Andrew has two other grown sons, Richard, a recovering drug addict and playwright, with a wife and two kids living in California, and Jamie who is single and a filmaker of unusual films. Andrew summons his sons to his New York home for a reason as yet unknown to them. What follows is a series of events that comprise the bulk of the novel. It is interesting to see how Gilbert uses the narrator Phillip, who has always envied the Dyers and wants to be a part of them, to get inside the heads of the characters and follow the events that occur. He is an unreliable narrator exactly because the story is colored by his point of view. One of A.N. Dyer's books, Ampersand, is integral to the story because it is essentially about Phillip Topping's late father Charles. The Dyers' and the Toppings' lives have always been intertwined, but it is clearly the Dyers that have shined in the world because of Andrew's success.

There are many themes in this book- memory, time passing, mistakes made, the desire to pass your traits on to your progeny, the meaning of a life lived, the accumulation of life's work, and what it means to have fame. It is a very rich book, full of ideas, and though there are some unusual parts of the story, it all adds up to an incredibly rewarding read.
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grailseven, September 3, 2013 (view all comments by grailseven)
Astonishing in scope, this is one of my top reads of the year. If you're seeing hype about this book, it's for good reason. Gilbert hits a grand slam, writing a top-notch account of fathers, sons, and all of the messy tangles they pull each other into. Great book!
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hasnul, August 23, 2013 (view all comments by hasnul)
Author David Gilbert is masterful in his discussion of New York's Upper East Side, displaying that world in sharp relief. And his portrayal of each son is, at times, equally sharp. Their inner worlds and their relationships with their father ��" and each other ��" touch chords found in even the healthiest of relationships.

And Sons will have earned the praise it is bound to draw. It is a wonderful book that, ironically, may well come to define another generation.

Another great read.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780812993967
Author:
Gilbert, David
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20130723
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
448

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Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life

And Sons Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Random House - English 9780812993967 Reviews:
"Review" by , “David Gilbert’s And Sons is that novel you’ve been waiting for without knowing you were waiting. Big, brilliant, and terrifically funny, it’s a moving story about fathers and sons and success, a dead-on, deadpan retelling of our American literary myth.”
"Review" by , “I like novels about novelists, and surely everyone is a sucker for a story that begins at the funeral of a childhood friend — especially a funeral with such a sense of foreboding (‘we would all return to this church’). And Sons is not an easy novel to describe without giving too much of the story away. Why would the first-person narrator need to defend himself from ‘charges of narrative fraud’? Why is a seventeen-year-old Exeter student — the product, we are told, of an affair that ended the novelist’s marriage and estranged the writer from his older sons — likened to ‘a small boy overboard, possibly drowning’? Yes, the writing is gorgeous — not only the prose but the power of David Gilbert’s observations. ‘All things have a second birth,’ Gilbert writes, and later, ‘We all have something to steal.’ And have I mentioned, without giving it away, that this is a terrific story?”
"Review" by , “Informed by observation and memory rather than aspiration and fantasy, And Sons is a New York novel written by an actual New Yorker. David Gilbert is smart, funny, and empathetic, but most important, possessed of a true literary sensibility that is seasoned, not seasonal.”
"Review" by , And Sons is not just a great book — maddeningly smart, mercilessly funny — it is, in all the ways that matter, a large one; it contains multitudes. Gilbert writes of fathers and sons, sons and lovers, the legacies of love and remorse we bestow on one another, the concentric rings that genius generates, with a fearlessness that allows him to go where he must and a talent profound enough to bring home the slipperiest contradictions, the hardest truths. The result is an often hilarious razor-cut portrait of the twenty-first-century emotional diaspora in which we live, and perhaps the finest rendering of creation and its discontents since Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus.”
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