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Trophy Son: A Novel
     

Trophy Son: A Novel

by Douglas Brunt
 

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A compelling, provocative novel about a father, his son, and the cost of early excellence in our achievement-obsessed society.
The third novel by New York Times bestselling author Douglas Brunt, Trophy Son tells the story of tennis prodigy Anton Stratis, from an isolated childhood of grueling practice under the eye of his obsessed father, to

Overview

A compelling, provocative novel about a father, his son, and the cost of early excellence in our achievement-obsessed society.
The third novel by New York Times bestselling author Douglas Brunt, Trophy Son tells the story of tennis prodigy Anton Stratis, from an isolated childhood of grueling practice under the eye of his obsessed father, to his dramatic rise through the intensely competitive world of professional tennis. Written with an insider knowledge of the tennis circuit, Trophy Son explores a young man striving to find balance in his life, navigating moral compromises, performance-enhancing drugs, and the elusive lure of wealth and celebrity. From Wimbledon and the U.S. Open to the off-court life of elite players, Anton finds exhilarating highs and desolate lows as he searches for an identity apart from his achievements.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Trophy Son brings Conroy's The Great Santini and Malamud's The Natural into the present day, tackling our dangerous obsession with youth athletics and single-sport specialization. A terrific book." -Harlan Coben

"By believably conjuring a professional tennis prodigy who is — of all things — poetic, sensitive, and well-read, Douglas Brunt's Trophy Son takes us deeper inside the modern men's game than any nonfiction account could." –James Kaplan, author of Sinatra: The Chairman and co-author of You Cannot be Serious with John McEnroe

"Keenly observed and provocative." --Sports Illustrated

Library Journal
03/15/2017
Brunt's latest novel (The Means; Ghosts of Manhattan) focuses on our U.S. sports-obsessed lifestyle, in this case, the professional tennis tour during which players' bodies begin to deteriorate at age 18. Anton Stratis is such a player, initially an eight-year-old child phenomenon who sacrifices two decades to gain a top world ranking. Ignoring the strain of five-hour training sessions in 90-degree heat, Anton's alpha-dog father mercilessly molds him into a successful player. "I ate, slept, played tennis and rested for more tennis." Anton's first-person narrative carries the story as he grows weary of his tennis-dominated adolescence. Brunt reveals the sport's cruel expectations in his protagonist's struggles with performance-enhancing drugs, media pressure, and seeking psychiatric help. Hovering on the edges of Anton's isolated life is gorgeous actress Ana, a possible soul mate who also endures unrealistic expectations. VERDICT Brunt's writing hints of a YA coming-of age tale, with Anton battling to find his true self. However, several bedroom romps may be too intense for school library collections. Still, sports fiction fans will enjoy.—Rollie Welch, Lee Cty. P.L., Lehigh Acres, FL
Kirkus Reviews
2017-02-02
A tennis prodigy struggles with his overbearing father and what it truly means to win.Brunt, who in previous novels has tackled finance (Ghost of Manhattan, 2012) and politics (The Means, 2014), returns with a fast-paced take on the world of pro sports. The novel follows Anton Stratis, the son of two former Olympic athletes, and chronicles his life and career as a tennis player, from auspicious beginnings as a child prodigy to his triumphs and failures on the pro circuit. Anton's path is never an easy one, beset by girl troubles, performance-enhancing drugs, and, above all, the specter of his domineering father, whose presence hovers over every scene and who pushes Anton to succeed at the expense of his own happiness. For all the thrilling tennis matches he depicts, Brunt ultimately cares less about whether his protagonist will find success on the court than about whether he will ever find peace off it. In his struggle to find self-actualization and happiness, however, Anton is never quite a believable character, and the conflict he faces between his own desires and his father's win-at-all-costs mentality never feels like anything more than a narrative contrivance. Indeed, the novel as a whole, while never dull, suffers from a persistent heavy-handedness in tone and plotting. Elements like an oft-mentioned rival feel thinly sketched, present only because prior sports fiction necessitated their inclusion, and dialogue alternates between cringeworthy and merely wooden, with turgid, on-the-nose lines like, "But a person is happy in his life only if he finds meaning in it, and meaning in life is positively correlated with choice in life. While I wasn't conscious of that fact then, I suffered from it unknowingly," appearing far too often. A pro sports bildungsroman with the excitement of a Federer-Nadal match but none of its grace.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250114808
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
05/30/2017
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
607,828
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Douglas Brunt is the author of the New York Times bestseller Ghosts of Manhattan and The Means. A Philadelphia native, he lives in New York with his wife and their three children.