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In the Fall They Come Back by Robert Bausch

In the Fall They Come Back (edition 2017)

by Robert Bausch (Author)

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232678,483 (3.5)1
Title:In the Fall They Come Back
Authors:Robert Bausch (Author)
Info:Bloomsbury USA (2017), 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned

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In the Fall They Come Back by Robert Bausch



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Ben Jameson decides to take an English teaching position after finishing his undergraduate but before embarking on graduate school, or possibly law school. He’s never taught young people before, and there is every reason to think that he might not be especially good at it. Only the flexibility afforded a private school and the recent loss of its English teacher could make plausible his hiring. But, despite some early ups and downs, it begins to look like a smart move. Good for Ben, good for his students, and good for the school.

That it doesn’t necessarily end up there is, after all, what makes this an interesting read. Also a bit unsettling. Ben is both strangely naive and unappreciative of the consequences of his own actions or those of others. Indeed you might begin to suspect that something very curious might happen. Or that everything you are reading might turn out to be double-edged. That it doesn’t and isn’t is somewhat of a disappointment. Not that what we have here is weak at all. It’s just that it might have been so much more.

The writing, at least in the first half, might have you thinking along the lines of Nabokov. But mostly that is because the character of Ben is so peculiar. Alas his peculiarity is never mined for anything profound. And so we get the ins and outs of two years of teaching by an inexperienced but fitfully enthusiastic amateur who inappropriately meddles in the personal lives of his students, though sometimes with fortuitous effect. Maybe that’s enough. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Jan 2, 2018 |
This book is not something I would generally choose to read. I lean much more toward sci-fi/fantasy stories. However, I am very glad I did choose to enter the contest and that I won this book because it was....amazing. None of the main characters were completely likable but I fell in love with them anyway. I wanted to slap some of them but I still found myself worrying about what was going to happen to them next. That takes a very talented writer. To make you care and worry about characters that you're not always sure you even like. The pace was slow(ish) but the book still drew me in and kept me so involved that I didn't notice the passage of time. This is a book about relationships, and about choices, and about human mistakes and humanity in general. But it's also just a book about some very messed up individuals that you find yourself wishing you could save. Definitely recommended. ( )
  J_Colson | Nov 30, 2017 |
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A brilliantly observed prep school novel about fraught teacher-student relationships--and about coming into adulthood. Ben Jameson begins his teaching career in a small private school in Northern Virginia. He is idealistic, happy to have his first job after graduate school, and hoping some day to figure out what he really wants out of life. And in his two years teaching English at Glenn Acres Preparatory School, he comes to believe this really is his life's work, his calling. He wants to change lives. But his desire to "save" his students leads him into complicated territory, as he becomes more and more deeply involved with three students in particular: an abused boy, a mute and damaged girl, and a dangerous eighteen-year-old who has come back to school for one more chance to graduate. In the Fall They Come Back is a book about human relationships, as played out in that most fraught of settings, a school. But it is not only a book about teaching. It is about the limits and complexities of even our most benevolent urges--what we can give to others and how we lose ourselves.… (more)

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