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I came to this novel by way of a brilliant short story by David Gilbert in the "New Yorker" in which every detail is realistic and familiar - until the main character gets drunk and vomits, and the vomit turns out to be something like a baby. The rest of the story is about how he deals with the vomit baby, and it's funny, entertaining and truly heartbreaking. I wanted more of that. The novel "& Sons" is not like that short story. Late in the novel there's a bizarre bit about cloning that seems to attempt a vomit baby type vibe, maybe, but in any case it doesn't succeed. There are other parts where the storytelling doesn't succeed as well. The dullest son is a documentary filmmaker who records the death, day by day, of an old girlfriend as cancer consumes her. Then he digs up her grave and continues to record her decomposition day by day. This over-long story line is probably making a clever point about something - art maybe, or grief - but it fails to be compelling or profound or funny. It's a little upsetting, but that's not why I hated it - it's also unconvincing and boring. I almost abandoned the book. I'm glad I continued listening because the book is full of brilliant and entertaining moments. The writing is so good - full of vivid details and descriptions - that I would often pause the story and try to memorize them. It's worth reading despite its obvious flaws.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
I would say that it was difficult to finish this book. By the time it was over I had no interest in the characters or their lives. I agree that there are passages of brilliant writing -but for the most part it was hard for me to stay engaged in the story.
Do you think And Sons needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
3 of 3 people found this review helpful