Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Mini-Review of A Brilliant Tale of Two Families Enmeshed In Dysfunction - "& Sons" by David Gilbert
If John Irving says that he likes a book, that means two things to me: I am going to read the book, and I am also gong to love it. Mr. Irving did not steer me wrong in this case. "& Sons" is a masterpiece of weaving together the stories of two families whose idiosyncrasies and fatal flaws keeping colliding generation after generation.
David Gilbert has penned a novel about fathers and sons that would make Turgenev proud. The book has the depth and complexity of a classic Russian novel, and all of the glitter and gutter that New York City has to offer. The story begins with a funeral, and foreshadows that this would not be the last funeral to play a role in the narrative of this sweeping saga. There are allusions to J.D. Salinger as the recluse novelist, A.N. Dyer, struggles to deal with life, fame and his untamable family. Phillips Exeter, of course, plays a role, as do several neighborhoods of Manhattan and Brooklyn that span the socio-economic spectrum that is The Big Apple. The multiple layers of relationships among the various siblings is one of this book's strong suits.
This is a "must read" for those who appreciate beautifully written sophisticated story telling.