Boy Who Went Away

Overview

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 the 1960s. At the heart of this novel is not only the story of Denny's coltish entrance to adolescence, but ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $1.99   
  • Used (14) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 2
Showing 1 – 10 of 14 (2 pages)
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(4071)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Good
Reprint Good [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ] [ Edition: Reprint ] Publisher: Bantam Pub Date: 1/5/1998 Binding: Paperback Pages: 224.

Ships from: College Park, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(6800)

Condition: Very Good
Nice condition with minor indications of previous handling. Book selection as BIG as Texas.

Ships from: Dallas, TX

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(9)

Condition: Good
Super fast shipping! Money back guarantee! This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a text book it may not have supplements. Big Hearted Books shares it's ... profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Sharon, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(1216)

Condition: Acceptable
A used copy at a fantastic price. We ship daily via USPS. Buy with the best! BN

Ships from: Toledo, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(23380)

Condition: Acceptable
Our feedback rating says it all: Five star service and fast delivery! We have shipped four million items to happy customers, and have one MILLION unique items ready to ship today!

Ships from: Toledo, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(18958)

Condition: Acceptable
Buy from the best: 4,000,000 items shipped to delighted customers. We have 1,000,000 unique items ready to ship today!

Ships from: Toledo, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(1216)

Condition: Acceptable
A used copy at a fantastic price. We ship daily via USPS. Buy with the best! BN

Ships from: Toledo, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(0)

Condition: Like New
Fine Same as picture, Ships First Class, not media, small Softcover, smooth spine, tight pages, shelfwear, 2/14.

Ships from: Silver Springs, NV

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.74
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(1)

Condition: Good
1998 Paperback Good Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not ... include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Plano, TX

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(742)

Condition: Good
1998 Paperback Good 100% of this purchase will support literacy programs through a nonprofit organization!

Ships from: Phoenix, AZ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 2
Showing 1 – 10 of 14 (2 pages)
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

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 the 1960s. 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 at 44 Drainer Drive. This is the cruelly antic, heartrending story of two childhoods that would, by fall's arrival, be irretrievably lost.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Lyrical, luminous, heartbreakingly comic, Eli Gottlieb's brashly original tale of a lost summer in 1967 was selected as an Editor's Choice by The New York Times Book Review and praised by The Los Angeles Times as "an excellent novel...moving" when it was first published in hardcover by St. Martin's Press in January 1997. We hope you will join bn.com in welcoming this virtuoso new talent in American fiction to chat about The Boy Who Went Away, just rereleased by Bantam in a trade paperback edition.

Denny Graubart lives in a world of manicured lawns and whispering sprinklers, of nice families with new cars and cleanly swept driveways. But behind this facade of normality, Denny faces a very different world. He's already seen glimpses of truth on TV, where a war in a far-off place called Vietnam rages. Yet it is to discover the secrets closer to home that Denny becomes a spy in his own household. He steams open the mail, taps the phone, listens at his parents' bedroom door. A teenager who considers himself a "highly skilled intelligence operative," he knows his mother is dressing up in the afternoons to meet a lover, he knows his father has started drinking, and he knows the desperate measures his mother will take to keep his autistic brother out of an institution.

In the literary tradition of Catcher in the Rye, The Boy Who Went Away depicts the emotional chaos that characterizes the transition into adolescence. Chronicling the slow deterioration of his family, Denny Graubart faces his teenage years with courage and insight, looking forlove,learning about sex, and searching for the truth about the family he thought he knew. What he finds on the far side will touch you to the core.

Kirkus Reviews
A first novel about dysfunctional family life and coming of age in suburbia that relies on careful writing and a sly wit to distinguish itself from other narratives in this most contemporary of genres.

Ignored and confused, Denny Graubart is certain that he's part of "one of the craziest, bizarre, most twisted families that ever lived." For an adolescent boy in New Jersey, circa 1967, his life is indeed difficult. His older brother James is an autistic teenager who lives at home, despite his violent outbursts, and who seems to monopolize the attention of his mother, Harta, who directs most of her love and energy toward her troubled son. Denny, meanwhile, decides to spy on his parents: He taps the phone, pokes peepholes in walls, and snoops in drawers. What he hopes to find isn't clear, but along the way he discovers not only his father's not-so-hidden retreat into alcohol, but evidence that his mother is having an affair with one of James's doctors. No saint himself, Denny provokes his brother's worst behavior and sometimes cruelly torments him. Eventually, his parents recognize his weird and obsessive behavior and send him to a shrink. Denny's Oedipal longings are pretty much on the surface, and his bumbling entrance into puberty focuses on Sabina Satiani, a beautiful girl from the neighborhood who wants to become a nun. Despite Harta's heroic efforts to keep James home, the state intervenes, and Denny finally gets his way, though the end is bittersweet.

Gottlieb allows his story to find its proper length—which is short—and builds to the right emotional crescendo. A fine little book.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553379273
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/5/1998
  • Pages: 209
  • Product dimensions: 5.21 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Interviews & Essays

On Thursday, February 26th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Eli Gottlieb to discuss THE BOY WHO WENT AWAY.


Moderator: Welcome, Eli Gottlieb! Thank you for taking the time to join us online this evening.

Eli Gottlieb: And thanks for having me here! It's quite an honor!


James from Hoboken, NJ: I loved THE BOY WHO WENT AWAY. Was it your first attempt at publishing a novel?

Eli Gottlieb: Yes, it was my first attempt at publishing a novel. A long and difficult trek from idea to final book. The idea for the book, in fact, had been in my mind for about ten years, so with that factored in, it was a very long time from idea to book.


Neil from Orlando, FL: I noticed that you taught at the University of Padua.... Would you ever return to Italy? What do you think of the expatriate life?

Eli Gottlieb: I loved the experience of being in Italy for three years, but I think that exile is an inherently sad condition, despite the excitement of being in a foreign land. I began to lose my English, and that was the reason that I came back from Italy. But, to answer your question, I would love to return sometime, because for me Italy remains a land of enchantment.


Larry from Memphis, TN: Your work has been compared to THE CATCHER IN THE RYE. That's very high praise, and well deserved, I think. How do you react to such accolades?

Eli Gottlieb: On the one hand , one is always happy to hear his work compared to an author he admires. On the other hand, I have a feeling those comparisons were partly the product of the marketing department. On a more serious note, I think that I tried to write a book that would have a kind of two-track appeal, both in terms of age group and in terms of range of literary background, and in that sense I would accept a comparison with CATCHER IN THE RYE, because that book also seemed to appeal equally to adolescents and adults.


Suzanne from Binghamton, NY: Is the masturbation wind tunnel that Derwent rigs for Denny with the sheets and the fan in his brother's room based on a real contraption someone showed you when you were young, or did you invent it for the this book? It was brilliant! Thanks!

Eli Gottlieb: It's funny to be at a loss for words in cyberspace. But to answer your question, Yes, it was based on a true incident. Derwent himself is based on a person I knew from childhood who now resides in California. I haven't had any contact with him for 20 years.


Mark Davis from Croton-on-Hudson, New York: Mr. Gottlieb, I read your book, and I think it's wonderful. I was wondering how you know so much about the subject of autism and the process families must go through?

Eli Gottlieb: That's a good question, Mark. The book is based on my own experiences in childhood, emotions recollected not so much in tranquility but recollected nonetheless. The emotional core of the book is true to how I recall my own childhood, but on top of that, I erected a superstructure of fantasy. My own brother was diagnosed as autistic when I was 11 and he was 12, and it was the difficulties attendant on his diagnosis and his eventual commission to an institution that formed the foundation of the novel.


Megan from Seattle,WA: Do you think your work as a magazine editor has helped your fiction? How?

Eli Gottlieb: That's an interesting question. The fact is that I had to detox for a year and a half after leaving Elle before I rediscovered my own set of literary reflexes. I had been an aspiring fiction writer before falling into the Elle job, and during my two-year term there I found myself having to learn the house style -- a relentlessly cheery, adrenalized prose. It took, as I say, another year and a half or two of sitting alone in my room before I could get rid of all those hyperactive adjectives. I think, however, that the discipline of journalism, with its deadlines and its word counts can be useful to writers of fiction, especially those, like me, who are genetically predisposed to loaf.


Benson from Brookline, Mass: Since it is your first book, I am interested to know, where did this story begin in your mind? What scenes did you begin with? Did you know that this was the novel you would have when you were finished?

Eli Gottlieb: From a very early age, it was apparent to me that my own family was not only worthy of being depicted in fiction but merited it in some essential way. They seemed to me so strange and colorful at the same time. So, when I started to write this book, I drew on a fund of images and memories that were still, in a certain sense, fresh to me. At the same time, I began writing another novel, much more formally ambitious, set in Italy. For some reason, I find it more reassuring to have two different projects going simultaneously. When the only typescript of the Italian novel was stolen out of my car, I turned to the autobiographical novel and concentrated on it to the exclusion of everything else. The novel began with a series of "master scenes" loosely distributed along an arc of time. The real work of the novel lay in building the connective roads between those large scenes, and keeping the action moving and the tension of the book building. I can't think of any art more difficult than that of writing novels.


James from San Francisco, CA: What was your favorite book as a child? Do you think that book has informed your later writing?

Eli Gottlieb: That's, of course, basically impossible to say. I could speculate. I had a fairly typical book-mad childhood, typical in that I read all the books young boys are supposed to read, from the Hardy Boys to Tom Swift, from Jules Verne to Dr. Doolittle. I was absolutely crazed for books as a child. The universe they offered me seemed far more tangible and welcoming than the one outside the door of my room. But as for literary influences, they are, I suspect, formed more strongly in college and one's 20s. As an adult reader, I think I've specialized in reading closely and obsessively rather than reading widely. Sometimes I'll read a book ten times. I've done that with a handful of novels by Saul Bellow and Robert Stone, with some books by Peter Handke, and with DUBLINERS by James Joyce. Finally, like most people, I suspect, my reading has been an utter hodgepodge. I can't point to any specific influence on this book, but perhaps some midground between the domestic warmth of American Jewish fiction and my own demented deadpan humor would be about right.


Krista from Knordgrean@aol.com: Good evening, Mr. Gottlieb. Are they sending you on tour for THE BOY WHO WENT AWAY? I loved it and would love to either meet you or hear you read.

Eli Gottlieb: No, they're not. They already did, but alas, they're not. I think reading tours are pretty tricky affairs, anyway, and after my one experience, I'm perfectly happy to stay at home for the rest of my life. It wasn't that this tour in particular was so bad, it's just that unless you're a certified A-list author, the likelihood of more than a handful of people turning up for your readings is iffy. This is not so bad, in and of itself, but when repeated on a nationwide scale, it can get a touch depressing. My favorite story involves an author friend of mine, a fairly well-known novelist in his 40s who drove through snow and sleet for hours to a reading in a midwestern bookshop. Exactly one person was in attendance, an elderly woman who sat in the very back row and listened as my friend, already hoarse from the long drive, labored through 20 minutes worth of prose. Afterwards, she made her way to the front of the room and explained to my friend that she hadn't liked what he'd read at all. Somehow that story has always seemed to me an essential cautionary tale for writers going out on readings.


Albertson from San Francisco, CA: Eli, I loved your book. It's so elegantly written. I wondered about one thing after I finished it. What are we supposed to think of the relationship between the mother and the doctor? Is it purposefully left ambiguous or are we supposed to accept Denny's suspicions?

Eli Gottlieb: I like specific questions about specific elements of the novel. I think that I tried to imply that there had been a relationship. The extent of the relationship went undiscussed, but I tried to imply that there had, in fact, been a real-live relationship between the doctor and the mother.


Bobbi from Bethpage, NY: The violent scene between Harta and Fad is so unnerving, and also interesting, especially the sexual twist from Denny's perspective at the end of it.... What do you think is going on in this scene for Denny? Is it the violence that arouses him?

Eli Gottlieb: I'm not the first person to draw links between anger and sex, that's for sure, but in this scene, I think that the boy's sexual arousal derives not only from the proximity of the violence itself but from the fact that the violence was being suffered by his brother who, despite his many handicaps, he envied for his claim on the mother's attention. Finally, however, the scene and its sexuality remain a mystery even to me. It seemed to be born independent of my own designs.


Mary from Baltimore, MD: What do you think of the lookism in women's magazine publishing? It must have been interesting working as a token man on a fashion magazine.... Please comment.

Eli Gottlieb: Interestingly enough, during the time that I was at Elle, all four senior editors, including myself, were male. Because I fell into the job through a complete fluke, I didn't at the time realize how strange this was. The situation has since been rectified. In answer to your question about the lookism, I was frankly horrified, to tell you the truth. A magazine like Elle is what is known as "graphics-driven" in the parlance, meaning that photos of beautiful junkies -- i.e. supermodels -- take precedence over editorial or text. In addition to that, there was the specific fact that while I was at Elle, certain articles would not be run if the subject was deemed too unattractive. I have to say, I found this appalling, especially as it included a few heavyweight writers who I longed to profile for the magazine.


Christa from New York City: Can you tell us about the struggle you had on the way to writing this novel? What was in your way, do you think, during the years of gestation? Can you tell us about the book that got away -- the one you started to write -- and how it might have helped you get down to this one?

Eli Gottlieb: As I think I already mentioned, the book that got away was a book set in Italy, which was a book that employed much more ambitious formal means. By that I mean that I was more conscious while telling the story of the technique I was using. It was a book besotted with literary influences, a book in the European modernist tradition. When it was stolen and I turned to this autobiographical novel, I did so because the theme and the imagery had haunted me since my own childhood, but also because I wanted to write a book that would leave me vulnerable as a writer. I think I was so angry at having lost this other book -- 140 pages of it, anyway - -that I purposely turned to a terrain and a technique that gave the reader deeper, faster access to myself. It was a kind of expiation. In other ages, I might have torn my shirt or beat my breast in the town square. In this case, I merely disappointed my highbrow friends.


Robin from Hartford, CT: Was it difficult to write the character of Fad? Some of his associations were so poetic.... Did you have his character in mind before this book?

Eli Gottlieb: As I've said earlier, Fad is drawn from my experiences of my own brother who lived with me for my first 11 years. I remembered the tones of his voice and the peculiar angles his mind took rather than any specific phrases or utterances. His was on the one hand the most difficult character to retrieve from memory, but on the other the most gratifying. D. H. Lawrence once said that writers cough their lungs into the basins of their books. I feel I gave myself a kind of at-home psychoanalysis.


Mel from New York City: Hi, Eli, great that we get to grill you about things the book makes us wonder about. The book's characters are so tangible that one's left thinking about what happens to them: Do the parents live happily after? What happens in a few years? Have you thought of a sequel?

Eli Gottlieb: That's a grilling all right, Mel. I really felt like with this book I had brought closure to these images and themes that had haunted me for so long. I relish the thought of doing a novel based less explicitly in my own autobiography, but your questions about the tangibility and the future of the characters make me happy. From a writer's point of view, a reader can't be too engaged.


Roger from Carmel, California: I read in your bio that you taught American literature at the University of Padua. Could you tell us a little bit about that experience? Is this experience the origin of Sabina?

Eli Gottlieb: That's a very good question. In fact, Sabina is based on a girl I knew in childhood who was Hungarian, not Italian. As far as teaching American literature goes, it was an extraordinary experience. I loved the studying that went into my own preparation, and I loved as well the performance art of teaching.


Mel from New York: Was it important that the action was set over a summer? Why did you choose to do that, because it gives the book a radiant quality which mitigates some of the sadder things?

Eli Gottlieb: That's an interesting question also. I think that I was drawn to the light and openness of summer -- which I remember with great vividness from my own childhood in the particular house which was a model for the house in the book -- but also because the natural arc of a summer seemed to coincide gracefully with the duration of the story I had to tell.


Moderator: Thank you for joining us tonight, Mr. Gottlieb. Any closing comments?

Eli Gottlieb: Just that I've enjoyed the intelligence of the reader's comments -- a welcome respite from book reviewers. Thank you all very much.


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)