Who is A. N. Dyer? "& Sons" is a literary masterwork for readers of "The Art of Fielding, The Emperor's Children, "and "Wonder Boys"--the panoramic, deeply affecting story of an iconic novelist, two interconnected families, 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.
Praise for "& Sons"
"Six months from now, Gilbert's should be among the half-dozen or so names cited by critics and serious readers when they're asked who produced 2013's most dazzlingly smart, fully realized works of fiction."--"The Washington Post"
"If you read only a few books this year, this one should be one of them."--The Huffington Post
"When someone uses the term 'instant classic, ' I typically want to grab him and ask, 'So this is, what, like the new "Great Expectations"? You sure about that?' But David Gilbert's novel "& Sons, " seductive and ripe with both comedy and heartbreak, made me reconsider my stance on such a label. . . . This is the book I'd most like to lug from one beach to another for the rest of summer, if only I hadn't torn through it in two very happy days this spring. . . . Gilbert's portrait of New York City] and its literary set is as smart and savage in its way as Tom Wolfe's "The Bonfire of the Vanities, " half love letter, half indictment, and wholly irresistible."--NPR
"If the stylish brilliance of recent novels by Rachel Kushner, Jess Walter, and Peter Heller has been hinting at a new golden age of American prose, then David Gilbert's ambitious, sprawling, and altogether masterful second novel, "& Sons, " confirms it. . . . By turns challenging and multilayered, weird and hilarious . . . "& Sons" is more than worth the effort."--The Daily Beast