Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

The opening scene of Gilbert's finely textured new novel (after The Normals) isn't supposed to be a puffed-up affair, but it might as well be: A.N. Dyer, one of New York's hermetic literary giants, is scheduled to deliver the eulogy for his childhood friend Charlie Topping. What follows in this grandiose novel full of dissatisfied men and erudite posturing is a vivid and often amusing portrait of the New York's Upper East Side literary scene, as relayed by the dearly departed's son, Philip. Through Philip's idolatrous and therefore unreliable perspective (and in a few interspersed letters between his father and Dyer), the writer's life is exposed, from his foibles to his successes past and present, including the publication of his widely heralded masterpiece, Ampersand; his attempt at renewing ties with his estranged sons, Richard (an ex-drug addict and aspiring screenwriter) and Jamie (a burned-out documentary filmmaker); and his fervent preoccupation with ensuring the welfare of a third, much younger son, Andy, who was born out of mysterious circumstances 17 years prior. 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. As a counterbalance, Gilbert is at his best when capturing the fearless, testosterone-driven essence of adolescence, as Andy flits from boozing and deflecting empty banter at a swanky book-release party at the Frick, to chasing skirts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to trying to outsmart and outrun his father's ever-persistent legacy. Agent: Bill Clegg, WME Entertainment. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

This large-scale novel explores the dysfunctional family of A.N. Dyer, a famous New York writer who recalls J.D. Salinger.ÅAs the novel opens, Dyer, 79 and in failing health, is attending the funeral of a close friend with his three sons. The two eccentric older sons from his former marriage have histories of drug abuse, while the youngest son attends boarding school and is mainly concerned with losing his virginity. The narrator is the son of Dyer's deceased friend, a mysterious, creepy character who seems to harbor a grudge against Dyer's family. Letters between Dyer and the narrator's father, interspersed throughout the narrative, reveal behavior by Dyer that has had tragic consequences. VERDICT Like Jonathan Franzen, Gilbert (The Normals) works on an expansive canvas as he examines the tragedies and comedies of a modern American family. He 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.-James Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

This large-scale novel explores the dysfunctional family of A.N. Dyer, a famous New York writer who recalls J.D. Salinger.ÅAs the novel opens, Dyer, 79 and in failing health, is attending the funeral of a close friend with his three sons. The two eccentric older sons from his former marriage have histories of drug abuse, while the youngest son attends boarding school and is mainly concerned with losing his virginity. The narrator is the son of Dyer's deceased friend, a mysterious, creepy character who seems to harbor a grudge against Dyer's family. Letters between Dyer and the narrator's father, interspersed throughout the narrative, reveal behavior by Dyer that has had tragic consequences. VERDICT Like Jonathan Franzen, Gilbert (The Normals) works on an expansive canvas as he examines the tragedies and comedies of a modern American family. He 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.-James Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.