Speed is a funny and sad novel about two brothers growing up in Mount Vernon, New York, in the 1920s and 1930s. The narrator, glib and enterprising, is favored by his family and everyone else. His relationship with his brother, Speed, is affectionate but also psychologically complex and ultimately tortured. He takes advantage of the saintly Speed, whose value, in the eyes of the world, is negated by his disabling stutter. The narrator is successful in everything he attempts, whereas the more gifted Speed is doomed to failure. Then something happens to Speed, and the narrator spends decades missing him and searching for him. Mark Harris brings his characteristic wit, charm, and imagination to a story that is no less poignant for being entertaining.
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Mark Harris is the author of a famous quartet of baseball novels—The Southpaw, Bang the Drum Slowly, A Ticket for a Seamstitch, and It Looked Like For Ever—all available as Bison Books.From Publishers Weekly:
Harris--novelist ( Bang the Drum Slowly ), screenwriter and literature professor at the University of Arizona--sets this accomplished coming-of-age novel with its strong autobiographical element in a New York City suburb in the second quarter of this century. The narrator, like Harris a writer of a certain age living in the Southwest, recalls with poignant clarity, regret and fondness his youth in Mount Vernon, N.Y., as the son of the police chief--playing basketball, selling the Saturday Evening Post and visiting his grandparents at Walk a Mile House, named for Grandfather's wildly successful Camel cigarette slogan. Central to the tale is the narrator's younger brother, Speed, whose admirable character, looks, intelligence and athletic ability are undermined by a profoundly disabling stutter. Uncertain whether he has been instrumental in the development of Speed's stutter, the narrator, favored by their family and others, is never unaware of Speed's inherent superiority. This unvoiced awareness gives a dark undercurrent of guilt and grief to the narrator's passage to adulthood as, through the years, he often takes advantage of his undeserved status. True to period details and his narrator's emotions, Harris shows us that life replete with success in love and work can yet be ruled by sorrow.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Dutton Adult, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX1556111800
Book Description Dutton Adult, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1556111800