& Sons is a multi-layered novel, and is probably best enjoyed at a slow pace, among readers who take time to dissect its many meanings. That being said, it can be an overwhelming novel. Readers needing constant movement may give up on this novel before reaching its end. If you enjoy beautifully constructed prose and interesting characters, stick with it. It'll pay off.
It took me a long time to read this book. I wanted to finish it to see if anything happens, or if any truths are revealed, or if I would learn some life lesson. For me it was a month of on/off reading I could have done something else with. The title is coy, and is meant to refer to the great coming-of-age novel 'Ampersand' written by the main character, Andrew N. Dyer, He, however is not the narrator here. That goes to various sons, both his own three and Philip, the son of his best and oldest friend who has just died. Themes galore in this book - all the relationships between fathers and sons that you can imagine, with a bit of science fiction thrown in for good measure. Themes galore in this book - all the relationships between fathers and sons that you can imagine, with a bit of science fiction thrown in for good measure. It appears that the author has lots to say about everything, and didn't quite know how to prioritize. Many people seem to have liked this book so I am in the minority, but a slog it was and I won't read anything else of his.
A VERY tough read. The author bounces all over the place, not only from paragraph to paragraph, but even within the paragraph, hitting multiple topics, events & timelines.
My impression is that he enjoys showing off with his clever writing style, as if he's living in the same privileged neighborhood as his characters.
I don't know how I read the entire thing.
Oh, the things about & Sons that drove me bananas — the clunky omniscient narrator, the whole book-within-a-book thing, and the one-dimensional female characters. In this 450-page dramedy about fathers and sons, a crotchety reclusive writer named A.N. Dyer engineers a reunion with his estranged adult children and his illegitimate teenage son, hoping they’ll bond the bonds of brotherly love before he up and dies. (Dyer! See what he did there?) But before I knew what was happening, I found myself caring about the Dyer boys in the same way I cared whether Joey would pick Dawson or Pacey on The WB each week, and I couldn’t wait to get back in the car every morning to tune into the Dyers’ next Upper East Side hijinks. The pages are filled with charming literary vignettes, and if you make it halfway, you’ll get to a full blown science fiction twist that should be a train wreck but somehow isn’t. I actually kind of love this book a little bit because of it, and I’m not telling if the twist is zombies or not.
Reminded me why I read books. Beautifully written.
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