The Falling Boyby David Long
In a small Montana town in the 1950s and 60s, a young carpenter discovers himself being drawn into the tensions and joys of family life. Marc SingerÆs marriage to Olivia, one of the four Stavros sisters, opens the door to new feelings and experiences he has never encountered before. Raised by his grandmother, he is a stranger to the teasing humor and smoldering resentments that preside at the Stavros dinner table. Olivia and her sisters are vastly disparate from each other; one is serious and steadfast; one dutiful; another romantically unstable; and one enigmatic. Mark takes great pleasure watching the sisters interact, the oldest of whom slowly begins to cast a spell over him. The two embark on an illicit affair, and as events lurch out of control, threatening to unravel this closely knit family, Mark has no choice but to confront the nature of marriage and desire.
- The Falling Boy is the long-awaited first novel by David Long, a master of the short story form.
- David LongÆs previous book, Blue Spruce, was named one of Publishers WeeklyÆs Best Books of 1995, and won the prestigious Rosenthal Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
- David LongÆs short fiction has appeared in leading literary journals, including The New Yorker, Story, and GQ.
Mark Singer's father died in a bar brawl and his mother disappeared, so he came to be raisedduring the 1940sby his grandmother in the town of Sperry, Montana. And where was his favorite place to pass the time? Well, the Vagabond Cafe, owned and run by Nick Stavros with the help of his wife (until her death in 1947) and four daughters, these being, from oldest to youngest, Linny (short for Evangeline), Celia, Olivia, and tomboy Helen. It's 1952 when the story opens with Mark's marriage (at 22) to the serious-minded and sweetly domestic if moody Olivia, who gives him two kids in fairly quick time, but who doesn'twell, keep life compelling enough to prevent Mark from falling into the arms and bed of long-limbed, restless oldest-sister Linnie upon her sudden return from a handful of incognito years (she'd even missed Celia's wedding) in the beatnik streets and alleys of San Francisco. As for plot, there's not much more. Mark's passion, however, and his guilt mount in almost equal degree, until one night, "as if he's doing them all an enormous service," he tells all to an Olivia who's already been deeply depressed of late. A third of the novel is left, and let it only be said that all works out in an oddly undramatic but satisfying wayand that, from start to end, there's a steady feast of detail to be supped on as Mark goes through workdays (as a contractor's helper), night drives, outings into the countryside, and trips into memory.
A closely observed tale of domestic life that remains real all the way through.
- Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.36(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.77(d)
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