The Other Side of the World

Overview

"Epic... The Other Side of the World can charm you with its grace, intelligence and scope... [An] inventive novel."
—Mark Athitakis, The Washington Post

Charlie is a journeyman whose friend Nick convinces him to move to Singapore, where he falls in love with the vibrant and endangered world of nearby Borneo. One night, during a fight at a cocktail party in Singapore, Nick dies mysteriously, prompting Charlie to return to New England where he ...

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The Other Side of the World

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Overview

"Epic... The Other Side of the World can charm you with its grace, intelligence and scope... [An] inventive novel."
—Mark Athitakis, The Washington Post

Charlie is a journeyman whose friend Nick convinces him to move to Singapore, where he falls in love with the vibrant and endangered world of nearby Borneo. One night, during a fight at a cocktail party in Singapore, Nick dies mysteriously, prompting Charlie to return to New England where he discovers that a former student has moved in with his father, Max, a former professor and source of unlimited sage expressions. Seana is a wildly successful and provocative writer who is equally wild and provocative in life. Together, she and Charlie set out on a road trip of resolution where "weird things happen if you make room for them."

From the lush forests of Borneo to coastal Maine, The Other Side of the World is a grand, episodic novel and another virtuosic performance by one of America’s most revered living writers.

Jay Neugeboren is the author, most recently, of the novel 1940, and collection You Are My Heart and Other Stories. His previous novels have received the American Jewish Committee Award and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. His stories and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Tikkun, GQ, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The New York Review of Books. He was the writer-in-residence for many years at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and currently lives in New York City.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Mark Athitakis
Neugeboren has written in relative obscurity for decades—this is his 18th book—but the linguistic precision, wry humor and libidinal neurosis contained in his fine new novel put him in good company with the recently retired [Philip Roth]…There's a comic glint to Neugeboren's take on heavy issues—noblesse oblige, anti-Semitism, environmental exploitation, our hunger for parenthood—that doesn't diminish their seriousness.
Publishers Weekly
Charlie Eisner and Seana O'Sullivan, central characters in Neugeboren's (The Stolen Jew) latest novel, are writers in the throes of collaboration. To add some "meta" to this fiction, their process involves working off snippets from Charlie's father, Max, himself a writer and retired college professor in Massachusetts. Seana, a former graduate student of Max's, had picked these snippets up at a literary tag sale he'd held. While figuring out which threads to follow and how best to piece them together, the pair sift through "opening chapters, final paragraphs, plot notions and summaries." The old man had considered Seana "his best and brightest, and also, to his ongoing delight, his most successful." But once Charlie pens a story about "a charming young man in his mid-thirties... in an international city in the Far East," based on his own experiences in Singapore and Borneo, the line separating truth and fiction becomes irreparably blurred. When Charlie's narrative veers into mildly offensive and absurd territory, it's unclear whom to credit and whom to blame. Is it the author's own voice or is it the protagonist Charlie's imagination? Neugeboren's playful twist on notions of authorship make this novel smart, mysterious, and occasionally disturbing.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Aided by his friend Nick, Charlie Eisner travels to Singapore and Borneo to find--or perhaps to lose--himself, but Nick's sudden death brings Charlie back to the States. Charlie is the son of Max Eisner, a charismatic and talented professor, now retired, who's had five marriages and numerous affairs. Max's current lover is Seana O'Sullivan, who'd been his most talented graduate student and is roughly half Max's age. Coming off of his own failed marriage, Nick invites Charlie to work with him in the palm-oil business in Singapore. Lost and searching, Charlie decides to hitch his wagon to Nick's star. Their friendship is a complicated one, going back to their time together at UMass and surviving Nick's failed relationship to his wife, Trish, Charlie's former lover--and the situation is complicated even further when it's revealed that for a while, they'd been a threesome. Nick introduces Charlie to the substantial sensual pleasures of the Far East, and Charlie finds he loves the beauty and exoticism of Borneo. One evening, when Nick gets blindingly drunk in his 16th-floor apartment, he charges at Charlie, who hoists him over the railing to his death. Charlie feels compelled to return to New England to reconcile himself with Nick's parents, Trish and Max. Even more sexual complications ensue when Trish, Seana and Charlie form their own threesome, and with Max's sudden death, Charlie begins a relationship with Seana. Although summarizing the arc of the narrative makes it sound like the most sensational of soap operas, it's anything but--Neugeboren presents a meditation on life, love, art and family relationships that's reminiscent of the best of John Updike.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781937512026
  • Publisher: Two Dollar Radio
  • Publication date: 12/4/2012
  • Pages: 282
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jay Neugeboren is the author, most recently, of the novel 1940, and collection You Are My Heart and Other Stories. His previous novels have received the American Jewish Committee Award and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. His stories and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Tikkun, GQ, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The New York Review of Books. He was the writer-in-residence for many years at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and currently lives in New York City.

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