Summer We Fell Apart: A Novel
  • Summer We Fell Apart: A Novel
  • Summer We Fell Apart: A Novel

Summer We Fell Apart: A Novel

3.8 37
by Robin Antalek
     
 

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“[A] well-crafted and cunning debut novel…a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.”
Publishers Weekly

The Summer We Fell Apart by newcomer Robin Antalek is a poignant, funny, and totally engrossing novel of family disasters and sibling rivalry—and it marks the debut of a pitch-perfect new voice in

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Overview

“[A] well-crafted and cunning debut novel…a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.”
Publishers Weekly

The Summer We Fell Apart by newcomer Robin Antalek is a poignant, funny, and totally engrossing novel of family disasters and sibling rivalry—and it marks the debut of a pitch-perfect new voice in contemporary American fiction. Antalek’s tale of the trials and many tribulations of the hapless and more than a little dysfunctional Haas family recalls the work of Sue Miller and Ann Beattie—and is a wonderful introduction to a superb writer whose short fiction has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Glimmer Train’s Family Matter’s and Short-Story Award and the Bellingham Review’s Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A preoccupied playwright father and a cult-actress mother are the stars of the Haas family in Antalek's well-crafted and cunning debut novel. Set in New York and Los Angeles, and spanning 15 years, the novel is told from the perspective of four siblings close in age and their mother, Marilyn, and plays on the wide-ranging themes of love, loss, abandonment and expectation. Opening with Amy, the youngest and most free-spirited, we learn of the family's constant state of tension and tenuousness. George, the second youngest, is sweet and sentimental; eldest sister Kate, a lawyer, is the tough one; and Finn, the second oldest, is an alcoholic. Each sibling's story is full of painful memories involving their parents' neglect and disloyalty, but their coming together is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and to the importance of family ties regardless of family history, making this an endearing and easy-to-relate-to dysfunctional family drama. (Jan.)
Library Journal
The arrival of Miriam, a Swiss high school student, in the Haas household is actually a minor incident in the scope of this story. The true focus is on each of the Haas siblings—Kate, Finn, George, and Amy—and to some extent their always distracted parents, Marilyn, the B-movie actress, and Richard, the one-hit-wonder playwright. An odd bunch of individuals, this family together forms a mostly dysfunctional and tentative unit. What would-be fifth sibling Miriam brings to their existence is intermittent—she's sometimes the accepted outsider, and, for handsome and tragic Finn, she is someone who loves him and tries to save him from self-destruction. The narrative shifts from sibling to sibling, allowing each character to present his or her perspective and life situation. In the final pages, Marilyn is given the same opportunity. Readers learn how the children have coped with minimal parental intervention and later see them as adults struggling to make their own way. VERDICT Debut author Antalek provides a captivating look at a modern family over the course of 15 years. Her memorable characters are ultimately likable despite their flaws. Strongly recommended.—M. Neville, Trenton P.L., NJ
Jessica Anya Blau
"THE SUMMER WE FELL APART is a thoroughly entertaining and often heart- breaking romp through the chaos and comforts of a large and extraordinary family."
Elizabeth Benedict
"The Summer We Fell Apart is a bright, big-hearted novel about the complexities and heartaches of the way we live now."
Diana Spechler
"Robin Antalek’s debut is as haunting as it is gripping—a story of the events, both mundane and dramatic, that tear a family apart; and of the often inexplicable love that binds a family together. THE SUMMER WE FELL APART is a beautiful, memorable novel."
Will Allison
"Full of the best kind of heartache, The Summer We Fell Apart is an unforgettable, big-hearted debut that will make you want to pick up the phone and call your own brother or sister."
Juliette Fay
"THE SUMMER WE FELL APART tells the story of the four Haas kids.... With every chapter the story grows richer and clearer, as does your appreciation for their humor, their burdens and their devotion to each other."
Martha Moody
"The most moving aspect of this very moving novel may be its author’s relationship to her characters. By portraying each sibling’s muddled life with tenderness, respect, and clear-sightedness, author Antalek proves herself to be the ultimate good parent."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780594434382
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/05/2010
Pages:
367
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Juliette Fay
“THE SUMMER WE FELL APART tells the story of the four Haas kids.... With every chapter the story grows richer and clearer, as does your appreciation for their humor, their burdens and their devotion to each other.”
Martha Moody
“The most moving aspect of this very moving novel may be its author’s relationship to her characters. By portraying each sibling’s muddled life with tenderness, respect, and clear-sightedness, author Antalek proves herself to be the ultimate good parent.”
Jessica Anya Blau
“THE SUMMER WE FELL APART is a thoroughly entertaining and often heart- breaking romp through the chaos and comforts of a large and extraordinary family.”
Elizabeth Benedict
The Summer We Fell Apart is a bright, big-hearted novel about the complexities and heartaches of the way we live now.”
Will Allison
“Full of the best kind of heartache, The Summer We Fell Apart is an unforgettable, big-hearted debut that will make you want to pick up the phone and call your own brother or sister.”
Diana Spechler
“Robin Antalek’s debut is as haunting as it is gripping—a story of the events, both mundane and dramatic, that tear a family apart; and of the often inexplicable love that binds a family together. THE SUMMER WE FELL APART is a beautiful, memorable novel.”

Read More

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