The Year of the Zinc Penny by Rick DeMarinis, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Year of the Zinc Penny

The Year of the Zinc Penny

by Rick DeMarinis
     
 

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Now in paperback, The Year of the Zinc Penny is a contemporary classic. Trygve Soren Napoli is a ten-year-old just beginning to realize that he is alone in the world. Certain inescapable quirks tip him off: He cannot stop himself from repeating aloud each of his sentences, even after his stepfather tapes his mouth shut. Strange black hairs grow from the back of

Overview

Now in paperback, The Year of the Zinc Penny is a contemporary classic. Trygve Soren Napoli is a ten-year-old just beginning to realize that he is alone in the world. Certain inescapable quirks tip him off: He cannot stop himself from repeating aloud each of his sentences, even after his stepfather tapes his mouth shut. Strange black hairs grow from the back of his hand. He has a weird name, unlike the other kids in Los Angeles, his new home. Even the cousin he looks up to calls him crazy. He doesn’t have a father, but then the country is in the middle of the biggest war ever, and a lot of kids are missing dads. His uncle drinks, and Trygve sees him hit Aunt Ginger, but then it was his uncle who gave him the roll of zinc pennies—and Uncle Gerald is the one who somehow manages to lay hand on the valuable copper wire needed to build an antenna for Trygve’s shortwave radio, the boy’s one sure link to the external world.
The Year of the Zinc Penny is a masterful rendering of a young consciousness. From his war-hero daydreams, to his obsession with Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, to his first encounters with sex and violence, to his disgust and fear at the depravity of the hodgepodge adults in his life,Trygve’s search for meaning is one of contemporary literature’s most compelling.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
DeMarinis ( The Coming Triumph of the Free World ; Heinz Prize-winner Under the Wheat ) has produced a masterpiece in this bittersweet coming-of-age story that re-defines the genre with the best of them. While neither as gritty as Earl Thompson's A Garden of Sand nor as cynical as Catcher in the Rye , the narrative, as related by 10-year-old Trygve Napoli, may remind readers of both. The year is 1943, and the setting is Los Angeles, where Trygve has been reclaimed by his detached mother (``She has a Norwegian fatalism, tough enough to outlast winter.'') now that she has remarried. Trygve has spent lonely years living in Montana with his indifferent Norwegian grandparents and attending a brutal school ``where the pedagogical philosophy was Education Through Fear.'' Now a bed-wetter given to incessant perseveration, Trygve finds himself part of a family that includes his new step-father, the smooth Mitchell Selvage (a milkman and black-market opportunist; schizzy Aunt Ginger; her drunken husband Gerald, a sailor in the Canadian Navy; and his 15-year-old son William. Since their apartment building doesn't permit children, Trygve has learned to hide in a nearby bunker whenever the landlord comes around. Looming large as a backdrop is the War, to which Trygve is connected by a complex fantasy life and his shortwave radio. DeMarinis has created in Trygve a perfect narrator--the child as witness--a character both naive and accepting, and yet skilled in his ironic and perceptive observations. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Set in Los Angeles during World War II, this engaging novel charts the uncertain life of its narrator, 11-year-old Trygve Napoli, as he is reunited with his mother after three years. Focusing on the interplay of emotions among Trygve and his mother, stepfather, and other relatives, DeMarinis shows how each deals with the anxiety of war, loss, fear, ridicule, and, finally, death. Trygve's way is ``becoming anonymous'' and being ``capable of mustering any necessary lie at will.'' Told with wit, charm, and pathos, this work is highly recommended.-- Joseph M. Levandoski, Free Lib. of Philadelphia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781583226384
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Publication date:
09/15/2004
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.36(d)

Meet the Author

RICK DEMARINIS is the author of several novels and collections of short fiction. His stories have appeared in Harper's, Antaeus, Story, Epoch, and many others. In 1990 he received a Literature Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

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