Author(s): David Gilbert
Who is A. N. Dyer? For fans of 'The Art of Fielding' and 'Wonder Boys' - this is the panoramic, deeply affecting story of an iconic novelist and the heartbreaking truths that fiction can hide. The Manhattan funeral of Charles Henry Topping would have been a minor affair but for the identity of the eulogist: reclusive author A. N. Dyer, whose novel 'Ampersand' stands as a classic of teenage angst. Now Andrew Newbold Dyer takes stock of his own life, the people he's hurt and the novel that will endure as his legacy. He realises he must reunite with his three sons before it's too late. Eldest son Richard is a screenwriter in Californian exile. In the middle is Jamie, who has spent his life capturing the sorrow that surrounds him. And last is Andy, now a pupil at the boarding school that inspired 'Ampersand'. It is only when the hidden purpose of the reunion comes to light do the sons realise what's at stake - for their father, themselves and three generations of Dyers. Daring, entertaining and insightful, '& Sons' establishes David Gilbert as a writer to be treasured.
This is a very clever piece of writing in a style akin to John Irving, and with a dash of Franzen. A.N.Dyer, a successful author, is having a crisis after the death of his oldest, dearest friend. He feels compelled to bring his sons together back to the family home for some startling news. Dyer's cult novel Ampersand runs along at the centre of this book as a talisman and a mystery; one may say a threat. Something about its cult status and the dominating role it has in the lives of the author and all who are close to him gives the reader an increasing sense of doom. Clever, satirical and well-observed, Gilbert’s book deserves reading. - Stella
Praise for '& Sons': 'David Gilbert's "& Sons" is that book you've been waiting for without knowing you were waiting. Big, brilliant and terrifically funny' Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins 'The writing is gorgeous - not only the prose but the power of David Gilbert's observations ... this is a terrific story' John Irving 'A contemporary New York variation on 'The Brothers Karamazov', featuring a J. D. Salinger-like writer in the role of Father, and a protagonist who turns out to be as questionable a tour guide as the notoriously unreliable narrator of Ford Madox Ford's classic 'The Good Soldier' ... a big, ambitious book about fathers and sons, Oedipal envy and sibling rivalry, and the dynamics between art and life, talent and virtue. The novel is smart, funny, observant and ... does a wonderful job of conjuring up its characters' memories of growing up in New York City in layered, almost Proustian detail' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times 'Gilbert has a rich theme, and plenty of talent ... Gilbert often writes superbly, his sentences crisp, witty, and rightly weighted ... Some of [his metaphors] realign the visual world, asking us, as Nabokov's best metaphors do, to estrange in order to reconnect ... Every page proposes something clever and well turned. Gilbert is bursting with little achievements' James Wood, New Yorker 'Not just a great book - maddeningly smart, mercilessly funny - it is, in all the ways that matter, a large one; it contains multitudes' Mark Slouka 'A grand book, even extraordinary' Lev Grossman, Time
David Gilbert is the author of the short-story collection 'Remote Feed' and the novel 'The Normals'. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, GQ and Bomb. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.