Sunday, August 25, 2013

ARE YOU LISTENING? & SONS: A REVIEW AND GIVE AWAY

WELCOME TO BOOKIN' WITH BINGO'S" 
ARE YOU LISTENING? DAY"
I AM EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE TODAY'S
AUDIO BOOK CHOICE....
GIVEAWAY ENDED 
& SONS
Read by George Newbern
BY DAVID GILBERT
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Who is A. N. Dyer? & 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. & 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.
 


EXCERPT FROM & SONS:
And there he sat, up front, all alone in the first pew. For those who asked, the ushers confirmed it with a reluctant nod. Yep, that’s him. For those who cared but said nothing, they gave themselves away by staring sideways and pretending to be impressed by the nearby stained glass, as if devotees of Cornelius the Centurion or Godfrey of Bouillon instead of a seventy-nine-year-old writer with gout. Rumor had it he might show. His oldest and dearest friend, Charles Henry Topping, was dead. Funeral on Tuesday at St. James on 71st and Madison. Be respectful. Dress appropriately. See you there. Some of the faithful brought books in hopes of getting them signed, a long shot but who could resist, and by a quarter of eleven the church was almost full. I myself remember watching friends of my father as they walked down that aisle. While they glimpsed the Slocums and the Coopers and over there the Englehards—hello by way of regretful grin—a number of these fellow mourners baffled them. Were those sneakers? Was that a necklace or a tattoo; a hairdo or a hat? It seemed death had an unfortunate bride’s side. Once seated, all and sundry leafed through the program—good paper, nicely engraved—and gauged the running time in their head, which mercifully lacked a communion. There was a universal thrill for the eulogist since the man up front was notoriously private, bordering on reclusive. Excitement spread via church-wide mutter. Thumbs composed emails, texts, status updates, tweets. This New York funeral suddenly constituted a chance cultural event, one of those I-was-there moments, so prized in this city, even if you had known the writer from way back, knew him before he was famous and won all those awards, knew him as a strong ocean swimmer and an epic climber of trees, knew his mother and his father, his stepfather, knew his childhood friends, all of whom knew him as Andy or Andrew rather than the more unknowable A. N. Dyer.

All this happened in mid-March, twelve years ago.
TO FINISH READING THIS EXCERPT, VISIT THE PUBLISHER'S WEBSITE HERE.

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.  You can read more about this talented author by visiting his website HERE.
PRAISE FOR & SONS:
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE

“Six months from now, Gilbert’s should be among the half-dozen or so names cited by critics and serious readers when they’re asked who produced 2013’s most dazzlingly smart, fully realized works of fiction.”—The Washington Post

“A grand book, even extraordinary.”
—Lev Grossman, Time

“If you read only a few books this year, this one should be one of them.”
—The Huffington Post

“Clear the sand from your beach-book-overloaded mind for this smart, engrossing saga about a reclusive famous author and his late-life attempt to make amends to the many people he’s let down. Perfect for fans of Jonathan Franzen or Claire Messud.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“A contemporary New York variation on The Brothers Karamazov, featuring a J. D. Salinger–like writer in the role of Father, and a protagonist who turns out to be as questionable a tour guide as the notoriously unreliable narrator of Ford Madox Ford’s classic The Good Soldier . . . a big, ambitious book about fathers and sons, Oedipal envy and sibling rivalry, and the dynamics between art and life, talent and virtue. The novel is smart, funny, observant and . . . does a wonderful job of conjuring up its characters’ memories of growing up in New York City in layered, almost Proustian detail.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“When someone uses the term ‘instant classic,’ I typically want to grab him and ask, ‘So this is, what, like the new Great Expectations? You sure about that?’ But David Gilbert’s novel & Sons, seductive and ripe with both comedy and heartbreak, made me reconsider my stance on such a label. . . . This is the book I’d most like to lug from one beach to another for the rest of summer, if only I hadn’t torn through it in two very happy days this spring. . . . Gilbert’s portrait of [New York City] and its literary set is as smart and savage in its way as Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities, half love letter, half indictment, and wholly irresistible.”
—NPR

“Gilbert has great narrative gifts and a wonderful eye for the madness of families and the madness of writers. . . . & Sons is a novel that creates an imaginary author who is so real and flawed that the reader feels he understands American literature itself a little better after reading his story.”
—Los Angeles Times
 
“Gilbert’s finely wrought prose . . . teems with elaborate word plays and tests the reader’s perceptiveness at every turn.”
—Vanity Fair

“[& Sons is] about the emotional bonds between fathers, sons and brothers—the overwhelming love that can’t be adequately expressed and the burden of unspoken expectations. . . . Gilbert is an inventive, emotionally perceptive writer.”
—Associated Press
 


MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW:
David Gilbert’s & SONS is a sweeping novel based on a famously illusive author and his relationship with his sons…but don’t think & SONS is anything close to that simple. Instead, the narrative will grab you and take you in as you want to know who everyone really is and how things will end; while at the same time you find yourself dreading that final page when the joy of reading & SONS will be over.

Andrew N. Dyer, who is almost 80 years old, wrote a classic in his very first novel, AMPERSAND. It became the novel people continue to discuss, and teach about, long after it was first released all those years ago. With Dyer’s closest friend, Charlie Topping, having recently died, thoughts of his own mortality become relevant. Dyer calls for his sons to come together with him. Richard, the eldest, has come back from drug addiction to be a family man who is trying to make it on his own as a screen writer without the omnipresence of his father’s name overshadowing him.   

Richard’s brother, Jamie, travels the world with the intent of making meaningful films based on other people’s misfortune. However, Jamie eventually realizes, what one is looking for may be right in his own backyard. Lastly is the youngest son of Andrew N. Dyer, Andy, who is still a student in an elite prep school AND half-brother to Richard and Jamie…the result of Dyer’s affair that literally destroyed his family! Facing this crucial time in his life, Dyer hopes to have one more chance to set things right in his own life much as he can do when he writes. The final twist of this mind boggling novel includes Dyer’s former wife also coming into the picture for this last ditch effort and gathering.

Gilbert’s writing flows with sincerity, inspiration, stimulation, and candor. He brings readers into the vibrant, distinctive New York social circles of our time. As he wrote & SONS in second person, readers are privy to all that is happening and in some odd way actually add to the narrative. For we surely must ask, would a story be anything were it not for the readers and their take on the story? Do we all see it the same? Can our wish to see the story turn out a certain way help it to change course with each twist and turn? Just when you think you might have figured out Gilbert’s storyline, things change and are turned upside down and you think how you must now rearrange your own intuitions. & SONS has been highly praised, much deservedly, as you will see when you enter the world of Andrew N. Dyer, thanks to the exquisite work of author David Gilbert.
GIVEAWAY
THANKS TO RICHARD AND THE GOOD PEOPLE
AT RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO BOOKS, I HAVE ONE

COPY OF DAVID GILBERT'S AUDIO BOOK,
  & SONS, TO GIVE AWAY

 
TO ONE OF MY LUCKY FOLLOWERS

 
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GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
 6 PM, EST, SEPTEMBER 12

 
 GOOD LUCK!

93 comments:

debbie said...

I would like to see his reasons for getting the family together, and what happens when they do.
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Pamela Keener said...

This sounds like an awesome listen
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Tina said...

I didn't read much of your write-up because I so want to read (and even more listen to) this one that I don't want to spoil it.
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Victoria Zumbrum said...

I would love to find out what happens when he gets his sons to get and what secrets he reveals. Thanks for the giveaway. I am a follower and email subscrber. Tore923@aol.com

Carol N Wong said...

From your review and reading about the book, this audio sounds very complex and addictive. I also love stories about families.

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The praise from Associative Press is very impressive". "Gilbert is an inventive, emotionally perceptive writer.” This sounds like a writer that I would love.

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Rosita said...

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