Elderly and reclusive author A.N. Dyer's most beloved novel is Ampersand, a coming-of-age story set at an East Coast boarding school. It is a book that everyone seems to revere and still sells hundreds of thousands of copies each year. While the narcissistic Dyer has achieved great literary and financial success, he has failed miserably as a father. Fearing his own death is imminent, Dyer summons his two alienated adult sons home: Richard, a former drug addict now married with two teenagers, and Jamie, a documentary filmmaker who is drifting through life. An extramarital affair that destroyed Dyer's first and only marriage produced a third son, teenager Andy, who lives with Dyer in a Manhattan apartment.
& Sons is full of striking prose and deep themes, mainly the relationship between fathers and sons. Gilbert makes New York City a major character in this tale through the rich description of details and events, particularly a book party for a promising new author. This skillfully-crafted novel is full of deeply flawed characters and the writing brilliantly captures the life of a fictional literary giant and his troubled relationships.
Reviewed by bb, 02/14. Other reviews by bb.