Gaston, Bill The Good Body: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780060394110

The Good Body: A Novel

3.7 avg rating
( 88 ratings by GoodReads )
 
9780060394110: The Good Body: A Novel

After twenty years. Middle of the night, guitar on the roof, skates in the back, maybe two months' grace in the wallet....

At passing speed, squinting into the next few months, be hit the city limits....

Here he was, Bonaduce back in town.

He is Bobby "Loose" Bonaduce: professional hockey player, old-fashioned charmer, incorrigible rogue. After an athletic career spent chasing -- and never quite catching -- stardom, Bobby is facing the end of a long love affair with his own arrested adolescence. With the chasm of retirement before him, he is compelled to reach out to the family he abandoned years before, fast-talking his way into the home of Leah, the wife he left behind, and into a graduate seminar at the school where his son, Jason, is an undergrad. With valiant, bullheaded grace, Bobby wrestles with the earnest idiocies of academia, tilting desperately at writing assignments that stubbornly elude him. Yet at the same time -- unbeknownst to his family -- he is also struggling with an insidious disease that threatens to rob him of the one thing that has never let him down: his body.

Bobby's attempts to navigate the no-man's-land of his failed marriage, to fashion a kind of rough bond with his son, and to learn to trust the truths of his heart in place of the waning force in his body -- The Good Body blends all these strains into a funny, never sentimental, but deeply moving song, full of discordant harmonies and unexpected resolutions. Rich with poignancy and humor in equal measure, it marks a welcome American debut for a writer of singular insight into the human spirit.

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Review:

To say that Bill Gaston's The Good Body is hilarious is to miss the profound forest for the mesmerizing trees. Oh, The Good Body will split you with laughter (how could a story of an aging semi-pro hockey player cheating his way into a graduate creative writing program not?), but the comedy is in fact another aspect of the novel's intimate understanding of its characters. It is this closeness that wires The Good Body with an electric psychology alternately hilarious, insightful, affirming, and terrifying.

None of Bob Bonaduce's career of hockey violence prepares him for the crushing blow he receives in a doctor's office after one foot doesn't stop tingling and his hands suddenly go clumsy. Sent into the boards by the body that has given him a career, a broken marriage, and the purest grace he has ever known, Bonaduce decides to reintroduce himself to his estranged son. What better way to do that than to play hockey on the same varsity team? Life on the road has given him plenty of time to read. He's tried some writing. If he needs to be a student to play with his son, isn't creative writing really the thing? Application portfolio? Oh, Bonaduce can get around that defense.

Fellow players, housemates, ex-lovers, and classmates all meet Gaston's unflinching honesty, alternately kissed by sympathy or slashed by damning eyes. With Gaston's uniquely polymorphous talent, humor, insight, sex, and tragedy all are marks of a voice that is so comforting for the wounds it both opens and heals. --Darryl Whetter

About the Author:

A novelist, short-story writer, poet, and screenwriter, Bill Gaston was recently awarded the prestigious Canadian Literacy Award for Short Fiction. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

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