Eli Gottlieb The Boy Who Went Away: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781504656832

The Boy Who Went Away: A Novel

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9781504656832: The Boy Who Went Away: A Novel

[Read by Chris Patton]

Winner of the American Academy's Rome Prize for fiction, The Boy Who Went Away is Eli Gottlieb's tender, harrowing coming-of-age novel.

For Denny Graubert, the chaotic summer of 1967 -- when the screams of napalm bombs on the nightly news drowned the cheers of the All-Star game -- brings the painful realization that childhood has passed. While engaging in his favorite domestic spying game, Denny unwittingly discovers the desperate measures his mother will take to save his autistic older brother, Fad, who is lost in the diagnostic Dark Ages of Austism. At the heart of this novel is not only the story of Denny's coltish entrance to adolescence, but also that of his relationship with Fad, which will be forever changed during the course of that summer. The Boy Who Went Away is the cruelly antic, heartrending story of two childhoods that would, by fall's arrival, be irretrievably lost.

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Review:

Set in the suburbs of New Jersey in the summer of 1967, The Boy Who Went Away is a skilled debut novel that tells the story of one boy's maturation and the change a single summer visits on his troubled family. Denny is a sneak who begins the story playing domestic spy: listening in on phone conversations, steaming open the mail, and interloping on his mother, father, and his autistic brother, Fad. His Eddy Haskell of a friend Derwent helps usher Denny into an adolescent world of sex and irresponsible actions, and his spying uncovers a set of circumstances that teach him even more about adult life, namely his mother's infidelity and the looming institutionalization of his brother, who is prone to rocking in place and uttering comments like, "I want to be a wooden world that stays in one place so I can touch it whenever I want to." Together, the combination of his mother's love, his father's wits, and the simple love of a bothersome brother creates a moving story about the basic components of family life. The youthful prankishness and frank language keep the story moving and honest, and the book perfectly captures the way a single summer changes and seasons a young man's life.

About the Author:

Eli Gottlieb is the author of Best Boy, among other novels. His works have been translated into a dozen languages. He lives in New York City.

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Gottlieb, Eli
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