1st Look Loves: & SONS

Sure to be one of this summer’s best reads, "& SONS" by David Gilbert is a rich, moving, funny, razor-sharp look at family, friendships, the ties that bind, and so much more. If you want to stimulate your mind, laugh out loud, and feel wrenches of recognition in your heart, this is the book to buy now.  Just reading about “pittypattying” will put a guaranteed smile on your face....

Opening at a funeral on the Upper East Side sits Andrew Newbold Dyer, an iconic, reclusive, Salinger-esque writer preparing to give a eulogy for his best friend Charlie Topping. Undone by his friend’s death, A.N. Dyer gathers his three sons for the first time in many years to confront his own legacy, both literary and familial. So begins a wild, transformative, and heartbreaking week as witnessed by Philip Topping, who, like his late father, finds himself caught up in the drama of the Dyer clan, including first-born son Richard, a struggling screenwriter, returns to New York from California, middle child Jamie, who has spent twenty years making documentaries about human suffering, culminating in a project focusing on an ex-girlfriend that may have finally gone too far, and Andy, the half brother whose mysterious birth tore Andrew and Isabel Dyer’s marriage apart seventeen years ago.

Author David Gilbert was once at a dinner in which his father—a rather impressive man who possesses a natural authority—gave a speech. Midway through the speech, an old friend of his father’s leaned over and told Gilbert how it always amazed him to see his father so at ease in front of people considering how shy he was as a teenager. The contrast between the confident, reserved man he had always known and the shy boy the friend described made Gilbert curious about how much our impressions of our parents would change if we could somehow meet them during the awkward height of their adolescence. This concept of father as myth, coupled with Gilbert’s own experience as a parent, marked the genesis of "& SONS."

Early glowing reviews are already in from no less than John Irving and Fran Leibovitz:

“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

For more information, go to RandomHouse.com.

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