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The Boy: A Novel

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Overview

"Gorgeous, fiercely intelligent, deeply honest, and incredibly entertaining." —-Anne Lamott

Anna has always been a risk-taker and a free spirit, but now she is raising a young daughter on her own and she has to play it safe. Her twenty-something neighbor with the slow, easy smile is in no way part of Anna's plans. She resists temptation in every way she can, yet Anna is soon drawn into a reckless and obsessive affair.

Provocative, headlong, and...

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The Boy: A Novel

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Overview

"Gorgeous, fiercely intelligent, deeply honest, and incredibly entertaining." —-Anne Lamott

Anna has always been a risk-taker and a free spirit, but now she is raising a young daughter on her own and she has to play it safe. Her twenty-something neighbor with the slow, easy smile is in no way part of Anna's plans. She resists temptation in every way she can, yet Anna is soon drawn into a reckless and obsessive affair.

Provocative, headlong, and utterly compelling, THE BOY is the story of a woman on the edge, torn between love and compulsion, desire and duty. Lara Santoro writes in "hypnotic and swiftly paced" prose (Daniel Woodrell) about the hazards of passion and motherhood and about one woman's unthinkable rebellion.

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Editorial Reviews

<b>Emma Donoghue</b> - author of Room
"I read it in one go, with my heart in my mouth. Witty, compulsive, sensuous, and brutally honest about the price of motherhood."
<b>Alice Sebold</b> - author of The Almost Moon
"Lara Santoro's The Boy is both a swift and seductive novel. To experience such brutal beauty is why I read fiction."
Anne Lamott - author of Some Assembly Required
"I read this novel in one sitting and was mesmerized, addicted, charmed, jealous. The Boy is gorgeous, fiercely intelligent, deeply honest, and incredibly entertaining."
Daniel Woodrell - author of Winter's Bone
"The Boy is beautifully written, beguiling in its fashion, hypnotic and swiftly paced. Lara Santoro tells a morally complicated and edgy story and doesn't retreat, but stays true to her music. The word brave comes to mind, as does masterful."
Kate Christensen - author of The Great Man
"Lara Santoro is a brilliant novelist whose vision is fierce and unsparingly clear. The Boy is a beautiful, brutally sensuous novel."
Allegra Huston - author of Love Child
"Lara Santoro drills deep down, to the maelstrom of desire and despair that we cover up with the stories we tell ourselves. Unflinching and passionate, fierce and tender, The Boy is both a love story between parents and children, and a coming-of-age story for all women who are old enough to know better. It broke my heart."
Publishers Weekly
Santoro offers an emotionally intense, but melodramatic, sequel to 2007’s Mercy. Anna, 42, thinks she’s left her hard-drinking, volatile life behind in Africa, along with her career as a war journalist. Now she and her eight-year-old daughter, Eva, are settled in New Mexico, following an acrimonious divorce from Eva’s father. Anna starts a lustful affair with 20-year-old neighbor Jack, the first of a series of spectacularly bad decisions that leave Anna vulnerable to continued self-destruction. Much as Anna’s life devolves into chaos, so too does the plot disintegrate, increasingly losing focus and direction. Anna offers some realistic insights into maternal affection and insecurity: “We have children and they’re nothing we’re prepared for.... We have children and we don’t know how.” She is, however, so unwaveringly unpleasant to everyone—her daughter, her lover, her ex-husband, her inexplicably devoted housekeeper—that it’s hard to remain interested as she spirals out of control. The affair with Jack lacks credibility, and although Santoro’s affection for the desert renders some arresting depictions of the landscape, elsewhere the prose feels hollow even as it describes moments of potential emotional richness. Agent: Elaine Markson, Markson Thoma Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Emma Donoghue
I read it in one go, with my heart in my mouth. Witty, compulsive, sensuous, and brutally honest about the price of motherhood.
author of Room
Alice Sebold
Lara Santoro's The Boy is both a swift and seductive novel. To experience such brutal beauty is why I read fiction.
author of The Almost Moon
Anne Lamott
I read this novel in one sitting and was mesmerized, addicted, charmed, jealous. The Boy is gorgeous, fiercely intelligent, deeply honest, and incredibly entertaining.
author of Some Assembly Required
Daniel Woodrell
The Boy is beautifully written, beguiling in its fashion, hypnotic and swiftly paced. Lara Santoro tells a morally complicated and edgy story and doesn't retreat, but stays true to her music. The word brave comes to mind, as does masterful.
author of Winter's Bone
Kate Christensen
Lara Santoro is a brilliant novelist whose vision is fierce and unsparingly clear. The Boy is a beautiful, brutally sensuous novel.
author of The Great Man
Allegra Huston
Lara Santoro drills deep down, to the maelstrom of desire and despair that we cover up with the stories we tell ourselves. Unflinching and passionate, fierce and tender, The Boy is both a love story between parents and children, and a coming-of-age story for all women who are old enough to know better. It broke my heart.
author of Love Child
From the Publisher
"I read it in one go, with my heart in my mouth. Witty, compulsive, sensuous, and brutally honest about the price of motherhood."—Emma Donoghue, author of Room

"Lara Santoro's The Boy is both a swift and seductive novel. To experience such brutal beauty is why I read fiction."—Alice Sebold, author of The Almost Moon

"I read this novel in one sitting and was mesmerized, addicted, charmed, jealous. The Boy is gorgeous, fiercely intelligent, deeply honest, and incredibly entertaining."—Anne Lamott, author of Some Assembly Required

"The Boy is beautifully written, beguiling in its fashion, hypnotic and swiftly paced. Lara Santoro tells a morally complicated and edgy story and doesn't retreat, but stays true to her music. The word brave comes to mind, as does masterful."—Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone

"Lara Santoro is a brilliant novelist whose vision is fierce and unsparingly clear. The Boy is a beautiful, brutally sensuous novel."—Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man

"Lara Santoro drills deep down, to the maelstrom of desire and despair that we cover up with the stories we tell ourselves. Unflinching and passionate, fierce and tender, The Boy is both a love story between parents and children, and a coming-of-age story for all women who are old enough to know better. It broke my heart."—Allegra Huston, author of Love Child

"The Boy unfolds with terse, impressionistic rapidity-like a spare, brutalist modern fairy tale....You can't turn away."—Ben Dickinson, Elle

"Brilliant....Ms. Santoro has crafted a book just as fascinating [as Junot Diaz's This Is How You Lose Her], twice as stark, and simply unforgettable."—Autumn Markus, New York Journal of Books

Autumn Markus
"Brilliant....Ms. Santoro has crafted a book just as fascinating [as Junot Diaz's This Is How You Lose Her], twice as stark, and simply unforgettable."
Library Journal
Just who is that woman caught in her third DUI with a child in the car? Should a woman like that get any more chances? In this second novel (after Mercy) by a former journalist, she is Anna, a 42-year-old former foreign correspondent, divorced and living in New Mexico with nine-year-old daughter Eva and erratic housekeeper Esperanza. She’s worked hard to create a new life for her daughter, reshaping their wounded relationship. Meeting the 20-year-old son of a neighbor, Anna is both attracted to and repelled by his pursuit of her. Her resistance to his questionable charms is too low, and she finds herself tumbling into his bed, even as she recites all the reasons why she should not. There is no good way out, and the affair leads to that DUI and the potential loss of her daughter.

Verdict Santoro’s lyric language balances the gritty reality of confused lives and fleshes out the question: How many chances should any of us get to get relationships right?—Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
A contemporary Mrs. Robinson busies herself destroying lives in a small New Mexican town. Santoro (Mercy, 2007), a former foreign correspondent for Newsweek and the Christian Science Monitor, gives us Anna, a train wreck, her precocious daughter Eva and their Latina maid and de facto second parent Esperanza, aka Espi. Some semblance of domestic tranquility is overturned by the appearance of Jack, eldest son of the amused and bemused next-door neighbor, Richard Strand. Jack and Anna move toward one another with the simplicity of the heroic Jack and Jill, except Jack draws Anna not up but down, and when Eva leaves for an extended visit with her father, an uptight, witheringly sarcastic Englishman, Anna decides to plumb the depths. Anna's fierce love for her daughter cannot save her from her desire to experience her body as an object of affection and a reservoir of lust. It is a believable story, its arc tragic. Anna's friends Ree and Mia serve as a sort of spaced-out Greek chorus, and Anna's therapist Dr. Stewart's office is upholstered in platitudes. Flashbacks hint at sins that eroded Anna's first marriage, including infidelity and booze. Into this tight story, "meaning" starts to intrude. Soon, whole paragraphs of purple prose, as if pasted in from a different, and far worse, book appear, clotting the narrative. The effect is jarring, exasperating. The final act is abrupt--but punishment is a fixture of contemporary American fiction, and Anna had it coming. The central conflict, between maternal love and adult desire, is genuine. Even if Anna is damaged, her feelings are heartfelt and her crisis resonates. Apparently meaningful passages mar an otherwise solid effort to tell a compelling story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316206242
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 459,141
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lara Santoro spent most of her career as a foreign news correspondent, based primarily in Rome and in Nairobi working for Newsweek and the Christian Science Monitor. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from Smith College, a Master's degree in French Literature from the Sorbonne, and a Master's in Fine Arts from New York University. She was born in Rome, and currently lives in New Mexico. She is the author of one previous novel, Mercy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Not recommended

    Barely into three chapters and this book is boorrrrringggg! It is nothing like I thought it would be, based on reviews of the book itself as well as accolades about the author. I doubt I will finish reading the book. Very disappointing! With other hot books on the market.....gray (hint hint) I cannot comprehend why Ms. Santoro named her character Anna!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    The boy

    This book was incredibly sad. Anna the main character is incredibly selfish and it was hard to relate to her actions. Yet I must admit this book was a quick read and entertaining enough to keep going, to find out how it ends. It is no fairytale though and I am thankful I checked it out at the library instead of purchasing it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

    Disappointing.  It was a quick read and entertaining but it coul

    Disappointing.  It was a quick read and entertaining but it could have been so much more. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 16, 2014

    Not an easy book. Rather: a thought-provoking book, an honest bo

    Not an easy book. Rather: a thought-provoking book, an honest book, a gripping book. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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