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Sent to a "therapeutic community" for autism at the age of eleven, Todd Aaron, now in his fifties, is the "Old Fox" of Payton LivingCenter. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and convinces him to go off his meds to feel "normal" again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return "home" to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams. Written astonishingly in the first-person voice of an autistic, adult man, Best Boy--with its unforgettable portraits of Todd's beloved mother, whose sweet voice still sings from the grave, and a staffer named Raykene, who says that Todd "reflects the beauty of His creation"--is a piercing, achingly funny, finally shattering novel no reader can ever forget.
New York Times Editor's Choice People Magazine Pick of the Week A Washington Post Notable Book of 2015 Library Journal Top Ten Books of 2015 BookPage Top Five Books of 2015 "Raw and beautiful. . . . What rises and shines from the page is Todd Aaron, a hero of such singular character and clear spirit that you will follow him anywhere. You won't just root for him, you will fight and push and pray for him to wrest control of his future. You will read this book in one sitting or maybe two, and, I promise, you will miss this man deeply when you are done."--Ann Bauer, Washington Post Sent to a "therapeutic community" for autism at the age of eleven, Todd Aaron, now in his fifties, is the "Old Fox" of Payton LivingCenter. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and convinces him to go off his meds to feel "normal" again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return "home" to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams. Written astonishingly in the first-person voice of an autistic, adult man, Best Boy--with its unforgettable portraits of Todd's beloved mother, whose sweet voice still sings from the grave, and a staffer named Raykene, who says that Todd "reflects the beauty of His creation"--is a piercing, achingly funny, finally shattering novel no reader can ever forget.
Winner of the American Academy’s Rome Prize for fiction, Eli Gottlieb’s tender, harrowing coming-of-age novel finally returns to print. Denny Graubart, child-narrator and “domestic surveillance expert,” is having some terrible suspicions about his mother and autistic brother. It’s the 1960s, aka the Diagnostic Dark Ages of Autism, and while his mother struggles to keep his brother out of an institution, signs of something more disturbing are beginning to emerge before young Denny’s eyes. Battered by his own tragicomic sexual awakening during a long, hot summer, Denny will eventually find his most horrified suspicions about his family confirmed. A powerfully drawn portrait of two brothers locked into an asymmetrical childhood and a family struggling against a weight of medical ignorance, The Boy Who Went Away is “shockingly, electrically alive” (Phillip Lopate). It is also an indispensable bookend to Gottlieb’s Best Boy, which recounts the impact of autism on the same family from the other side, many years later, in the voice of a middle-aged autistic man.
Eli Gottlieb's previous novel, Now You See Him, was acclaimed by reviewers as "irresistible ... moving" (New York Times Book Review), "a triumph...of literary suspense" (Los Angeles Times), and "gorgeous" (USA Today). With The Face Thief, he returns with a driving, compulsively readable novel that probes the wellsprings of human greed and loyalty beset by temptation. Gottlieb introduces the mystery of the charismatic Margot, a promising journalist who morphs-with stunning panache-from a high-achieving affluent twentysomething into a grifter making her living preying on the weaknesses of men. Having studied the ancient Chinese art of face reading, she becomes an expert at reading people and is also able to rearrange her look and persona with uncanny skill to fit any social situation. She is an avenging angel, shattering marriages and draining bank accounts. What drives her quest to deceive and disarm? Exploring this question, The Face Thief moves fluidly forward and back in time, drawing vivid portraits of Margot's rocky childhood and her adult victims: an amiable, newly married man enticed into a catastrophic fraud; an esteemed teacher outwitted by his most dangerous student; and a well-meaning New York City cop tripped up by his belief in redemption. Ingeniously constructed and exquisitely written, The Face Thief swirls a hypnotic dance of predator and prey, creating a contemporary landscape where the educated are violent, the beautiful ugly, and the well-intentioned hapless. And yet we never give way to despair, because the protagonists of the book push back against the maelstrom and attempt tirelessly to right their toppled lives. Rich in suspense, psychological depth, and nuance, The Face Thief confirms Gottlieb's standing as "a master" (Denver Post) and, in the words of essayist Phillip Lopate, "an enthralling stylist who[se] . . . characters are shockingly, electrically alive."
His name was Rob Castor. Quite possibly, you've heard of him. He became a minor cult celebrity in his early twenties for writing a book of darkly pitch-perfect stories set in a stupid upstate New York town. About a dozen years later, he murdered his writer-girlfriend and committed suicide. . . . The deaths of Rob Castor and his girlfriend begin a wrenching and enthrallingly suspenseful story that mines the explosive terrains of love and paternity, marriage and its delicate intricacies, family secrets and how they fester over time, and ultimately the true nature of loyalty and trust, friendship and envy, deception and manipulation. As the media takes hold of this sensational crime, a series of unexpected revelations unleashes hidden truths in the lives of those closest to Rob. At the center of this driving narrative is Rob's childhood best friend, Nick Framingham, whose ten-year marriage to his college sweetheart is faltering. Shocked by Rob's death, Nick begins to reevaluate his own life and his past, and as he does so, a fault line opens up beneath him, leading him all the way to the novel's startling conclusion. In this ambitious and thrilling novel, award-winning author Eli Gottlieb-with extraordinarily luxuriant and evocative prose-takes us deep into the human psyche, where the most profound of secrets are kept.
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