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& Sons by David Gilbert

& Sons (2013)

by David Gilbert

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3704829,266 (3.55)1 / 21

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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
I give up. I've tried to read & listen to this book 4 times over the last 3 months.
I probably made it about 30% of the way thru while listening to it on CD but then the 4th & 5th CDs were all scratched & kept skipping.
I borrowed the ebook from the library & tried to read it for the 3rd time & just couldn't make myself dedicate any more precious time to the book.
It's very disjointed. At times, I wasn't sure who was telling the story. It switched back & forth from the narrator to the sons & the father in a very confusing manner.
I just didn't care about any of the characters.
It's just such a boring story with boring characters.
I have too many books on my "to read" list to waste any more time on trying to figure out why this book is so highly rated by so many people.
( )
  PiperUp | Aug 14, 2015 |
Reclusive novelist A.N. Dyer, author of the American classic Ampersand, makes his first public appearance in years at the funeral of his lifelong friend Charles Topping. Overcome by the task of eulogizing Topping and recognizing his own mortality, Dyer seeks out the presence of his three sons, all living vastly different lives. In a whirlwind week, the family works to untangle threads from the past while keeping a hold on the present.

While reading And Sons, I was constantly struck by the amount of effort Gilbert put into imagining A.N. Dyer's career. Rather than simply creating a book synopsis and writing a quote or two, Gilbert fills pages of And Sons with pages from Ampersand and brings his characters to life through their relationship with the novel. Yet, there is a world of depth beyond the brilliant frame of A.N. Dyer's books. Gilbert peeks into each of his character's lives through snapshots, slowly unwrapping secrets that have been hidden for years. Though the first person narration from Topping's son Philip feels like a slight misstep at first, allowing the speaker in each of the storylines to blur, its purpose grows clear as the novel progresses. Philip’s voice becomes necessary as the lives of the sons weave closer and eventually collide in a startling conclusion.

But Perhaps Gilbert’s greatest achievement is writing a literary novel centered almost wholly on male characters without focusing on their romantic or sexual relationships. While teenage crushes, marriages and affairs are mentioned, they are part of the plot not the theme. Instead, And Sons delves into the delicate bonds between friends, fathers and sons; beautifully tracing how the past can shape the future in the most unforeseen ways.

Blog: www.rivercityreading.com ( )
  rivercityreading | Aug 10, 2015 |
Overall, disappointed with this novel. It's an epic novel that tries way too hard to be deep, irreverent, all-encompassing... but the story is too big and drags for too long. And the writing? There is at least one example of a single paragraph covering FOUR pages! It's a story of lives intertangled, prep school chums and their sons and the failure of fathers and sons, of power and lust -- and loss, of East Coast sensibilities and Hollywood vice... of an author who was once great, but who lost his ability to write. Are you exhausted already? Overall, it is engaging and amusing at times, but just too big and too much. ( )
  Randall.Hansen | Jan 20, 2015 |
recommended in New Yorker Best of 2013, part 2
  jdukuray | Dec 31, 2014 |
My overall rating of this novel would be 3.5 stars, based primarily on the author's writing style and characterization. The story line, for me, was just not as engaging as I had hoped. ( )
  myra.reads | Dec 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812993969, Hardcover)

A literary masterwork for readers of The Art of Fielding, The 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.

Advance praise for & Sons
“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
“I like novels about novelists, and surely everyone is a sucker for a story that begins at the funeral of a childhood friend—especially a funeral with such a sense of foreboding (‘we would all return to this church’). & Sons is not an easy novel to describe without giving too much of the story away. Why would the first-person narrator need to defend himself from ‘charges of narrative fraud’? Why is a seventeen-year-old Exeter student—the product, we are told, of an affair that ended the novelist’s marriage and estranged the writer from his older sons—likened to ‘a small boy overboard, possibly drowning’? 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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:18 -0400)

A famous reclusive writer and his three sons find their bond tested by the weight of long-held secrets and a cumbersome legacy shaped by boarding school, Hollywood, and the elite circles of the publishing world.

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