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.
A Newsday summer reading pick
The funeral of Charles Henry Topping on Manhattan’s Upper East Side would have been a minor affair (his 200-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 20-year mission of making documentaries about human suffering. And last is Andy, the half brother whose mysterious birth tore the Dyers apart 17 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.
"[A] big, rich book... With wit and heart, Gilbert illuminates the complicated ways that fathers and sons misunderstand, disappoint, and love one another and how their behavior affects the women in their lives." (Real Simple)
"A marvel of uproarious and devastating missteps and reversals charged with lightning dialogue, Gilbert’s delectably mordant and incisive tragicomedy of fathers, sons, and brothers, privilege and betrayal, celebrity and obscurity, ingeniously and judiciously maps the interface between truth and fiction, life and art.” (Booklist)
"David Gilbert’s & Sons is that novel you’ve been waiting for without knowing you were waiting. Big, brilliant, and terrifically funny, it’s a moving story about fathers and sons and success, a dead-on, deadpan retelling of our American literary myth." (Jess Walter)
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Instant classic. Really.
Full of brilliant bits and pieces
- Doug P. "I've been addicted to reading since high school. I started with pulp novels, switched to great literature in college and now read everything"