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Amateurs
     

Amateurs

by Dylan Hicks
 

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Praise for Dylan Hicks:

"Hicks is a terrific writer who can craft a simile with the best of them." —Kirkus Reviews

"The joy in Hicks' debut arises less from plot than from the writing itself: nuanced, ingenious, perceptive, funny." —The Star Tribune

"Do yourself a favor and read this smart, tender book.

Overview


Praise for Dylan Hicks:

"Hicks is a terrific writer who can craft a simile with the best of them." —Kirkus Reviews

"The joy in Hicks' debut arises less from plot than from the writing itself: nuanced, ingenious, perceptive, funny." —The Star Tribune

"Do yourself a favor and read this smart, tender book. The characters will haunt you with their longing, and inspire you with their sweet, caustic wit." —Sam Lipsyte

Archer is a semi-celebrated novelist and sex-toy heir. His best friend, John, is as earnest as Archer is feckless. John’s girlfriend, Sara, envies Archer’s writing career. And Sara’s roommate, Lucas, wishes he’d never lost his girlfriend to the man. Money, friendship, and resentment unspool in the conversations we have as we’re coming of age and coming to grips.

Dylan Hicks is a writer and musician. His first novel, Boarded Windows, was published in 2012, along with a companion album of original songs, Dylan Hicks Sings Bolling Greene. His journalism has appeared in the Village Voice, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Star Tribune, and elsewhere. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Nina Hale, and their son, Jackson.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Hicks, a Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter, is winningly deft with language. From the opening paragraph, neither commas nor em dashes can rein in his enthusiasm for the craft of storytelling, which Hicks embraces with contagious energy and sharp humor.” —New York Times Sunday Book Review

“[A] sprightly tale about friendship and courtship, money, love, assorted complications—and writers. Felicitous characters and a scrumptious plot make Hicks’ second novel refreshing and fun.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“[Amateurs is] a sharply observed and very funny novel . . . [Hicks] has perfect pitch.” —The Guardian, "Dylan Hicks: 'Are millennials concerned about selling out any more?'"

“An improbable and wildly enjoyable mix of a comedy of manners, a road-trip story, and a slacker coming-of-age tale. Hicks manages to turns what could easily have made readers stumble—multiple protagonists in multiple time lines—into a winning narrative style. . . . Though the story lines themselves are engaging, it is Hicks’ ear for dialogue, humor, and detail that makes the novel shine.” —Booklist

“A bright, perceptive story about friends trying with mixed results to wrestle with the pressures of adulthood… Hicks does a near-perfect job tracing each character’s evolving needs, desires and resentments over the course of seven years.” —Los Angeles Times

"[T]heir games of one-upmanship, their tête-a-têtes, give the novel a fun repartee, in addition to highlighting Hicks’s ear for dialogue." —Heavy Feather Review

"These plot lines...are meticulously woven together to create for the reader a sensation of precarious narrative convergence." —Brooklyn Rail

“The setup of Hicks’ novel is the stuff of classic comic fiction; the minute details and anxieties that surround its characters, however, are what endures.” —Star Tribune

"Hicks [ . . . ] has fashioned a droll commentary about ambition among the would-be literati and has written some of the funniest prose in recent years."—Kenyon Review Online

Amateurs is an ambitious and accomplished novel that appears to be relaxed and easy-going. It is generously plotted and peopled, but I never sensed the author's effort or ambition.” —Extreme Legibility

“Here’s the kind of book—ironic but humane, erudite yet playful—that makes you want to read it in big chunks.” —Minnesota Monthly

“The other thing that Dylan Hicks does so well--he’s a marvelous writer.” —KUOW, "The Record" review

“Hicks can time a plot fuse perfectly.” —Atticus Reviews

“Dylan Hicks’ second novel Amateurs is one of the most fun books I have read all year, an unforgettable coming of age story.” —Largehearted Boy

“Hicks’ strengths lie in fastidious detail and witty dialogue; both abound in this book.” —Crave Online

“Supremely elegant, accurately human, unceasingly funny . . . Amateurs is a sublime literary treat by our hinterland Anthony Powell. In a kinder world, there would be a new book by ‘Hicksy’ every year.” —Ed Park, author of Personal Days

Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-02-15
The personal and social lives of a group of friends are on display in this modern novel of manners. Hicks' second novel, after Boarded Windows (2012), is smart, witty, and endearing. In a brief prologue, dated April 1972, we meet the Crennel family. Marion, a daughter, has written an unfinished novel that was "meant to be a parody and refraction of the kind of nuptial denouement one finds in Shakespeare or Austen." (Sounds a lot like Hicks' own novel.) She hides it in the attic. Then Part 1, titled "Prenuptial," begins in May 2011. The novel is divided into months over 11 years. Episodes go back and forth in time. We meet characters in one episode and then jump a few years ahead in the next episode to see them now older, maybe wiser. New characters, mostly minor, pop up along the way, and gradually, all the characters are jumping back and forth in time, slowly moving toward Part 2, "Postnuptial," with the last episode set in September 2011. It's very much a modern Austen-esque novel of manners. Carefully plotted, it's jumpy at first, but once settled in, the story takes off, providing a clever, jaunty ride. In May 2011, we first meet Karyn and her young son, Maxwell. She's been invited to her cousin Archer Bondarenko's wedding to Gemma in June. His family makes dildos, and they're plenty rich. He's published a successful novel which he may or may not have written. In August 2004, we meet Sara Crennel, a burgeoning writer; she's with Lucas Pope, who was previously with Gemma. Sara may or may not have written Archer's novel. Scandal ensues. A handy score card of who's what when helps keep track of everyone in this sprightly tale about friendship and courtship, money, love, assorted complications—and writers. Felicitous characters and a scrumptious plot make Hicks' second novel refreshing and fun.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781566894326
Publisher:
Coffee House Press
Publication date:
05/03/2016
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
1,358,339
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author


Dylan Hicks: Dylan Hicks is a writer and musician. His first novel, Boarded Windows, was published in 2012, along with a companion album of original songs, Dylan Hicks Sings Bolling Greene. His journalism has appeared in the Village Voice, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Star Tribune, and elsewhere. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Nina Hale, and their son, Jackson.

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