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Century's Son: A Novel
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312422318, Paperback)Within the confines of a Midwestern college town, Century's Son poignantly explores all that remains unsaid between family members still mourning the suicide of a teenage son. Robert Boswell's novel involves Zhenya Kamenev, a political science professor soured by the tragedy; her union-activist-turned-garbage-collector husband, Morgan, and his thug partner in trouble with the law; her daughter, who has never disclosed who fathered the son she had while a teenager; and Zhenya's father, Peter, who claims to be a century old and is a minor cultural figure since he was once armed and alone with Joseph Stalin, yet chose not to shoot.
Boswell's prose is straightforward and unadorned (which turns out to be a good thing). After a slightly flat beginning, the story is asserted and the novel builds steam. The characters are fallible, and their normalcy spirits this collection of personalities to express a range of emotions with authority. Take, for instance, what the family dog knew:
She had not forgotten Philip. Still she would catch a whiff of him or the things that smelled of him, and she would begin to pace the halls to find him. Anymore, after a few moments, she would stop herself. For a long time she had not known to stop herself, but she knew how to learn, as well as how to grieve.Century's Son is a moving portrait of a family coping and in crisis, still, after so many years. --Michael Ferch
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:53 -0400)
In the small college town of Hayden, Illinois, Morgan and Zhenya have settled into a loveless, stagnant marriage. The suicide of their son, Philip, ten years before has left the pair emotionally dead, lacking even the courage to separate from each other. Their surviving child, Emma, has become a teenage mother and refuses to reveal the identity of her child's father. Into this sullen mix marches Peter Ivanovich Kamenev, Zhenya's exasperating father. His arrival, though it tears at the family, also rejuvenates it.
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