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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 "A Franzenish portrait of a biting, aging New York writer, David Gilbert's novel is perceptive, witty, and--like all great books about remote fathers and their sons--prone to leaving male readers either cursing or calling their dads."--New York "In her iconic essay 'Goodbye to All That,' Joan Didion famously described New York City as 'the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself.' . . . David Gilbert's layered & Sons probes that nexus from the inside, limning the emotional decay of two prominent Manhattan families and literary masterpiece that cages them. . . . Vivid, inventive."--O: The Oprah Magazine "The book's central figure is an aging, Salinger-esque writer, A. N. Dyer, who, as his health declines, grapples with complexities involving family, friendships and his influential life's work. Gilbert could have dealt with Dyer's books as a necessary afterthought, tossing off some titles and quickly setting down to the real business of regret and death and endlessly messy human relationships. Instead, Gilbert really got into it. & Sons conjures a career's worth of drool-worthy fictional fiction that's so convincingly evoked, I almost recall writing a paper on it in freshman English class."--The New York Times MagazineA NEWSDAY SUMMER READING PICKFrom the Hardcover edition.
In 1912 James Reese Europe made history by conducting his 125-member Clef Club Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. The first concert by an African American ensemble at the esteemed venue was more than just a concert--it was a political act of desegregation, a defiant challenge to the status quo in American music. In this book, David Gilbert explores how Europe and other African American performers, at the height of Jim Crow, transformed their racial difference into the mass-market commodity known as "black music." Gilbert shows how Europe and others used the rhythmic sounds of ragtime, blues, and jazz to construct new representations of black identity, challenging many of the nation's preconceived ideas about race, culture, and modernity and setting off a musical craze in the process.Gilbert sheds new light on the little-known era of African American music and culture between the heyday of minstrelsy and the Harlem Renaissance. He demonstrates how black performers played a pioneering role in establishing New York City as the center of American popular music, from Tin Pan Alley to Broadway, and shows how African Americans shaped American mass culture in their own image.
The masterfully crafted stories that comprise Remote Feed mark the auspicious debut of a daring and remarkably perceptive writer. From war-torn Bosnia to a college sorority house to kill-or-be-killed Hollywood, David Gilbert uses bold prose and dark wit to paint a devastating picture of "normal" life on the brink of desperation and paranoia. His insights into the minor tragedies, disappointments, and desires that shape us reflect a deep understanding of human nature and a genuine compassion for his characters. Filled with startling twists, piercing irony, and layers of meaning, the world Gilbert creates in Remote Feed is a complex one -- often hilarious, sometimes frightening, but always fascinating.
"Gilbert's dead-on mimicry of conversational rhythms makes even the most ludicrous exchanges sound plausible, and he applies physical details sparingly and potently...wickedly funny." --Adam Goodheart, The New York Times Book ReviewThe masterfully crafted stories that comprise Remote Feed mark the auspicious debut of a daring and remarkably perceptive writer. From war-torn Bosnia to a college sorority house to kill-or-be-killed Hollywood, David Gilbert uses bold prose and dark wit to paint a devastating picture of "normal" life on the brink of desperation and paranoia. His insights into the minor tragedies, disappointments, and desires that shape us reflect a deep understanding of human nature and a genuine compassion for his characters.Filled with startling twists, piercing irony, and layers of meaning, the world Gilbert creates in Remote Feed is a complex one--often hilarious, sometimes frightening, but always fascinating."The short stories in David Gilbert's Remote Feed speak volumes about the ways modern men seek adventure and comfort." --Sara Nelson, Glamour"These stories are funny and thoroughly entertaining...Keep an eye on this guy David Gilbert." --Mike Musgrove, The Washington Post
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