& Sons
by David Gilbert

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A] big, brilliant novel.

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More About & Sons by David Gilbert
The Washington Post The New Yorker Esquire The Austin Chronicle Kansas City Star The Guardian (UK) BookPage Flavorwire Bookish

A] big, brilliant novel. The New York Times Book Review
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.
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader s Circle for author chats and more.
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 ofBeautiful Ruins
Extraordinary. Time
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
Audacious . . . one of the year s] most dazzlingly smart, fully realized works of fiction. The Washington Post"

  • ISBN-13: 9780812984354
  • ISBN-10: 0812984358
  • Publisher: Random House Trade
  • Publish Date: May 2014
  • Page Count: 453

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Sagas
Books > Fiction > Coming of Age

BookPage Reviews

New paperback releases for reading groups

Versatile and acclaimed author Neil Gaiman targets adult readers in his latest book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, a spellbinding short novel set in England. The book’s ­middle-aged narrator, who remains anonymous throughout the tale, grew up in Sussex with some very odd neighbors—the Hempstocks: a witchy old woman, a little girl and her mother. When the narrator returns to Sussex many decades later, he finds the old woman and mother at home, just as they were years before, unaltered. The girl, who was gone the last time he saw the family, remains absent. Looking back on his childhood, the narrator recalls his magical involvement with the Hempstocks, who are in reality formidable, ageless figures working to protect the world from an evil supernatural power. With typical skill and imaginative genius, Gaiman combines elements of mythology, mystery and fantasy in an irresistible story that his legions of followers will love. Richly atmospheric and wonderfully original, this is a tale from an author whose inventiveness seems to know no bounds.

David Gilbert’s widely acclaimed second novel, & Sons, is a masterfully constructed narrative about a New York novelist coming to terms with the passing of time. Andrew Dyer is adored by the reading public but leads an isolated life. Motivated by the death of an old friend, he’s eager for his three sons to forge a friendship with one another. His teenage son, Andy, whose out-of-wedlock conception proved the undoing of Andrew’s marriage, is half-brother to his older sons, Richard and Jamie. Richard hopes to become a screenwriter and lives in Los Angeles, while Jamie travels around the world documenting catastrophes. Their story has a few madcap elements, including a fake manuscript and a viral video, but at bottom, it’s a profound examination of family ties and the delicacy of human relationships. Gilbert’s depiction of Andrew as a reclusive, gruff author is spot-on, and his portrayal of sibling relations is sure to resonate with readers. A shrewd observer of humanity, Gilbert has crafted an engaging family story that fans of Franzen and Chabon will savor.

Khaled Hosseini’s beautifully crafted third novel, And the Mountains Echoed, opens in 1952 in Afghanistan, where Saboor, a poor man struggling to survive, sells Pari, his 3-year-old daughter, to a wealthy couple. As subsequent sections of this powerful novel reveal, Saboor’s actions directly affect the family members who follow him, including his young son, Abdullah, who is torn apart by the loss of Pari. Hosseini tracks the repercussions of Saboor’s decision across five decades, as the action shifts outside of Afghanistan to France, America and Greece. He weaves many different plot strands into this remarkable narrative, controlling them all with remarkable skill and clear intent. A poignant tale of generational ties and the inescapable bonds of kinship, this is an impressive follow-up to Hosseini’s previous books, The Kite Runner (2003) and A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007).


This article was originally published in the June 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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