Tuesday, July 21, 2009

AMATEUR BARBARIANS-A Giveaway

GIVEAWAY ENDED!
AMATEUR BARBARIANS

by ROBERT COHEN

ABOUT THE BOOK:

With the bills piling up and the spectre of layoffs at work, graduate school has never been more appealing. Chuck all the grown-up decisions and compromises and burrow into distant, interior landscapes too remote for questions about gas prices and 401K plans. Answer just the questions you choose to hear, without having to commute. Maybe, though, the grad student spending the better part of his day in the coffee shop is fantasizing about stealing off with the harried suburbanite's minivan, watching the latest procedural crime drama on TV, packing the kids' lunches and setting the alarm to do it all again the same way the next day.

This is the "Freaky Friday" premise of Robert Cohen's new novel, "Amateur Barbarians." Instead of parental and teenage angst, Cohen gives two middle-aged men glimpses of the lives they each had long avoided.
Teddy Hastings is the principal of a New England middle school. A brother's death and a health scare send him headlong into a series of tragicomic downfalls that break every one of his routines.

Most men might find a new outlook after a holiday weekend in jail because of a photography class assignment gone awry, but Teddy finds himself still on a treadmill. Literally, he's running on a treadmill in his basement, and figuratively, he's not making any headway in his search for transcendence. It turns out that asking, "Is this all there is?" while running on treadmill doesn't lead anywhere.
Perpetual grad student Oren Pierce has spent a lot of time pondering such big questions.

When all that thinking and indecision bore him, he makes what seems like the most radical leap: Accepting a teaching job at Teddy's school. Teddy's wobbling propels Oren to interim vice principal, and the former student is surprised to find he likes the imposition of order on his days.
Oren's ascent from prolonged adolescence to humbled adulthood takes him from an empty apartment to puttering around a colleague's vacant house, then into a relationship with Teddy's wife. Teddy remains unaware that Oren is playing dress-up with his life, as his increasingly impulsive behaviour sends him on a hasty trip to Africa.

His terror at missing out on something big in life is lightened with Cohen's humour. This is a mid-life crisis comedy without the cliche of a sports car and a coed girlfriend. It's more like a video of two spastic gerbils, one flailing as he tries to jump off his wheel while the other one raises a tentative paw to give that same wheel a spin.
Cohen's pacing repeatedly drops in on Teddy and Oren mid-dilemma. The men ask "how did I get here?" but not at the end of their respective journeys. The question comes in a coach airline seat, at a stop light - somewhere between here and there, revealing in fits and stutters the way we make the big decisions. There's less planning and more dodging than sometimes we like to acknowledge.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ROBERT COHEN

Robert Cohen is the author of three novels, The Organ Builder, The Here and Now, and Inspired Sleep. His work has been awarded a Whiting Writers' Award, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers Award, The Ribalow Prize, and a Pushcart Prize, and has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Harpers, GQ, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly Unbound, and Ploughshares. He teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO LAUREN AND SIMON & SCHUSTER
FOR SPONSORING THIS GIVEAWAY OF
AMATEUR BARBARIANS
BY ROBERT COHEN

RULES:
--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P.O. BOXES, PLEASE
--INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS

HOW TO ENTER:

--COMMENT ON WHY YOU THINK
THERE IS A LION ON THE COVER OF
AMATEUR BARBARIANS!

--BE SURE AND INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS

--ONLY ONE COMMENT PER PERSON, PLEASE

ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED BY
6 PM, EST, JULY 30

GOOD LUCK TO ALL!

34 comments:

bermudaonion said...

You have the best giveaways! I think the lion is on the cover because of Teddy's impulsive trip to Africa. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Matt Gladden said...

i think a lion is a type of a barbarian and i think it resembles wildness (being wild{not wilderness}).

matt.glddn@gmail.com

Lisanne624 said...

Why is there a lion on the cover . . . hmmm, well, there is an impromptu trip to Africa mentioned in the description of the book, so maybe there is a tie-in there! Also, maybe it has to do with just living your life day to day as it comes without any great long-term plans (as I would assume a lion does!).

lahlstedt (at) gmail (dot) com

Beth said...

I don't even want to hazard a guess as to the lion, but it's such a great cover!!

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Indigo said...

Why is there a lion on the cover. Going by the title "Amateur Barbarians", I would think if you were an amateur who didn't know how to take care of himself in a barbaric world, you would get eaten alive.

Then again there is this quote by Elizabeth Kelly - “It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life”. I think the quote works with the subject matter of the book.

Thanks for the opportunity! Indigo

ravensquietscreams@gmail.com

holdenj said...

Wow, you had me at the Freaky Friday reference! I suppose the lion is on the cover as a reference to Teddy's impromptu trip to Africa. Maybe he is treed by it, and Oren must come to his rescue. What a fun giveaway!

JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks.

MJ said...

I think the lion represents how the men wish they were!

mj.coward[at]gmail.com

Sue said...

I think that like the two men you described not belonging, the lion doesn't belong in the peaceful setting he's in on the cover. Just a guess. Thanks for the giveaway~

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

wheresmyrain said...

great entry idea....
hmn...I think theres a lion because it just shows something/someone out of place, feeling out of context with where they are.
wheresmyrain at yahoo dot com

Neas Nuttiness said...

Who knows why...but the bigger question is "why is the lion on a sofa in the middle of someones lovely living room?"

Another great giveawy - thanks.

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Debbie said...

I'm agreeing that that trip to Africa is the genesis of the lion. That and the barbarian connection.
fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail(dot)com

Cindy said...

I think the lion is on the cover to represent Teddy and his trip to Africa. It also may represent maleness and Teddy's middle aged restlessness to be something different and more bold and daring than he has been in his life.

Love your blog!

Cindy
Socmom213@aol.com

sharon54220 said...

I have to say, the lion looks very relaxed on the couch. Beautiful lion at that. I'm sure there is a tie-in to the trip to Africa.

sharon54220@gmail.com

Valorie said...

Because there is an animal in him waiting to get out. :D

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

jwx4 said...

I think there's a lion on the cover because of the tie in with trips to Africa and a lesson of taking control of ones life with a fierceness.

minishoes1 said...

The lion is bigger then the coach and has to figure out a way to work it out. Just like problems. jacquecurl1@gmail.com

Madeleine said...

i want to read this book

The lion represent perhaps how he finds himself out of his element

madeleine444[at]gmail[dot]com

DCMetroreader said...

I think the lion is there to: 1) grab your attention, and 2) emphasze that the narrator has a wild beast inside himself waiting to escape.


Thanks for the giveaway!
Kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

CherylS22 said...

I think it has to do with Teddy's trip to Africa.

Thanks ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

Beth said...

There is a lion because he is king of the jungle and everyone wants to be a king!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Esme said...

Lion on the cover-maybe because they are considered by some to be barbarians given they are carnivores.

not sure

chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

Upper West Side Writer said...

This book looks really wonderful!

I think that the lion represents what an "amateur" barbarian would be like. A lion can't be really barbaric, because to be barbaric implies dipping below the usual standards of humanity, and a lion can't form those intentions. So though he does things that would be barbaric in a human, he is merely an amateur.

Just a thought, anyway. :^) Thank you!

lesleymfan(at)gmail(dot)com

g.g. said...

I think the lion must have something to do with the Africa trip BUT if I hadn't read any description,I would say it might be to advertise how some cleaning solution can even keep a white couch clean from a lion???? No? well, guess I have to read it to find out.
thanks for great giveaways!

lag123 said...

The lion is on the cover because this book roars!

lag110@mchsi.com

ChristyJan said...

I'm thinking the Lion on the cover is there to represent pride or what is going on inside of the men.

hawkes(at)citlink.net

Bev said...

Maybe it means to succeed you need to be fearless like a lion - but a lion on a couch is timid or perhaps too comfortable to make changes. Either that or that 'cat' on the couch has been eating way too much kitty chow : D

BevE
merryweatherbookblog@gmail.com

heatherzilla said...

I don;t know why the lion is on the couch, but that is an awesome cover. It makes me want to buy the book.

heatherzilla(at)care2(dot)com

bridget3420 said...

There's a lion on the cover because lion's are barbaric.

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

Shooting Stars Mag said...

This sounds amazing. I think there is a lion on the cover b/c of the whole lion and lamb thing. they are breaking out and living life like a lion...not sitting around like a lamb.

-lauren
lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

booksrmysoul said...

blair lewis
blairwlewis@gmail.com

I think the lion on the cover is say'in Power can be found anywhere.

booksrmysoul said...

blair lewis
blairwlewis@gmail.com

Thank you for this contest

Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

From a graphic designers point of view the lion on the couch is open to so much individual interpretation that the cover would strike and intimate cord with almost everyone that picked it up. The color contrast is also a draw - BUT I would never be able to get that logic past the drawing room, so there must be a better answer!

Thanks for the contest - you've got me thinking about this book now!

mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

Sara said...

I think the lion of the front is supposed to symbolize a domesticated beast which ties in with the restlessness the men are feeling. Whatever it means it sure is interesting.
Skkmiller (at) live (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Mary
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Karen, you really DO have the best book giveaways and great reviews!!!
Well, I'd have to agree with the majority that the lion is pictured in reference to Teddy's impromptu African trip, but I'm also thinking the Lion represented on a SOFA also implies that our modern world and daily life contains beasts of another kind, or maybe it's more a matter of being lion-hearted.
Honestly, no idea LOL

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