& Sons: Book summary and reviews of & Sons by David Gilbert

& Sons

by David Gilbert

& Sons
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2013
    448 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A literary masterwork for readers of The Art of FieldingThe Emperor's Children, and Wonder Boys - the panoramic, deeply affecting story of two interconnected families, an iconic novelist, 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A marvel of uproarious and devastating missteps and reversals charged with lightning dialogue, Gilbert's delectably mordant and incisive tragicomedy of fathers, sons, and brothers, privilege and betrayal, celebrity and obscurity, ingeniously and judiciously maps the interface between truth and fiction, life and art." - Booklist

"Starred Review. There's a lot to digest and reflect on in this ambitious and crowded narrative - the complicated bond between fathers and sons, the illusive nature of success and the price of fame - and the ailing author's angst-ridden waning years are placed in a harsh spotlight." - Publishers Weekly

"[Gilbert] knows New York's Upper East Side intimately, and he has created a memorable curmudgeon in his portrait of an aging writer that will delight many readers." - Library Journal

"[A] big, rich book ... With wit and heart, Gilbert illuminates the complicated ways that fathers and sons misunderstand, disappoint, and love one another and how their behavior affects the women in their lives." - Real Simple

"David Gilbert's & 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

"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

"Informed by observation and memory rather than aspiration and fantasy, & 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

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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.

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