City of Boys

City of Boys

by Beth Nugent
     
 

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Set in New York City and middle America, on Florida beaches, rural highways, and in suburban kitchens, these 10 "engaging, haunting, and lasting" (David Leavitt) stories summon a landscape both familiar and inevitable, where characters are afflicted with a profound malaise and time has slowed almost to a stop.

Overview

Set in New York City and middle America, on Florida beaches, rural highways, and in suburban kitchens, these 10 "engaging, haunting, and lasting" (David Leavitt) stories summon a landscape both familiar and inevitable, where characters are afflicted with a profound malaise and time has slowed almost to a stop.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in Midwestern suburbs, New York City and Florida, this accomplished debut collection homes in on girls and women struggling to cope with disappointment and emotional abandonment. Like the preteens in ``The Cocktail Hour'' and ``Riding into Day,'' they may be the hapless daughters of alcoholics or the progeny of troubled marriages; they can't quite comprehend their creeping sense of doom. The adult protagonists are emotionally disconnected survivors of relationships gone sour; Terry, at the center of ``Minor Casualties,'' has a lawn littered with the carcasses of animals killed by the cat her ex-boyfriend left behind. In the title story, one of the most powerful entries, a Midwesterner finds refuge from her oppressive mother in the arms of an older woman, but knows the affair is ephemeral. As the woman's former (male) lover tells the girl: ``I was the one before you, and you're just the one before someone else.'' Nugent's oblique style reveals her characters' inner lives and renders them sympathetic without soliciting the reader's pity. At her best, writing from the points of view of young girls who long for love and acceptance, the author imbues her subjects' alienation with a rare depth of feeling. (June)
Library Journal
Nugent has assembled a powerful collection of slice-of-life stories, many dealing with the mother-daughter theme. Most of the protagonists are young women, preadolescent to mid-teen, viewing impending womanhood as exhibited by their mothers. The mothers are all aloof, most commonly represented by ice cubes rattling in a drinks glass. In ``At the End of My Life,'' a young girl is the only one able to moderate the behavior of her emotionally disturbed brother. When she is called back from college to deliver him to a special school, she reports, ``I feel as if I have come home to find a pet savagely neglected in my absence.'' Strongly recommended, particularly for public libraries.-- Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679733515
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/01/1993
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Edition description:
1st Vintage contemporaries ed
Pages:
293
Product dimensions:
5.17(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.71(d)

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David Leavitt
Engaging, haunting, and lasting.

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