The Bastard Year

The Bastard Year

by Richard Lee Zuras

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Overview

"It was exactly one year ago today," my father said, "that the hostages were taken."
He looked at me as if he wanted me to say something. I figured he was probably wrong about it being a year to the day, but I wasn't about to tell him that.
"A year is a long time," he said. "A lot can happen in a year."

In the company of classic coming-of-age works, Richard Zuras's debut novel tells the story of a boy's final year of childhood and a family's near disintegration. When Zain's father is fired from the CIA in March of 1980, it creates a tremor that threatens to upend the family's precarious balance. Zain's awakening to a world riddled with cracks and his adolescent attempts to mend them are the stuff from which young men, and great stories, are made.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780984958801
Publisher: Brandylane Publishers
Publication date: 02/25/2012
Pages: 136
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.32(d)

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The Bastard Year 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Darcia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This coming of age novella follows Zain through a tumultuous year in his life. The overall tone here is sadness. Zain's world is lonely and, at times, bleak. We're shown how a family that doesn't communicate crumbles beneath the weight of their silence.I would have liked a bit more insight into the characters, but that is my own preference. The deliberate lack of detail reflects the characters' isolation and loneliness. As readers, we often feel as in the dark as they do.This is an excellent first novel by Richard Zuras. I'm looking forward to many more.
Daniel_in_VA More than 1 year ago
Richard Zuras’s novel “The Bastard Year” illustrates a time when Jimmy Carter is in the presidency, hostages are in Iran, and the narrator Zain is reeling from the tumultuous actions of his father: losing a job with the CIA, taking on long hours driving a taxi cab, and drinking too much. Zain reacts with some casual shoplifting, while trying to figure out his way in the fractured family’s dynamics. The economic status of the family fluctuates throughout the year, as Zain and his mother both take on jobs outside the house, and paying for tuition at Zain’s school becomes a sore point. What Zain and his family go through in their journey is expressed in such tight, lean prose that no line seems extraneous. The tone and pace of the book quickly drew me in, because Zain and the parents are the focus of the book to the exclusion of much interest in outlying characters, such as neighbors or classmates. This sharpens the edges around the plight the family is going through, as the burden of the father’s drinking grows, or how the mother’s encounter with crime at work ratchets up the tension for the family. “The Bastard Year” evokes its time period well without going overboard in descriptors. Events of the time occur almost like background static noise, and don’t overwhelm the very personal story of Zain and his parents struggle to right the tilting ship that is their family’s circumstances. In other words, rather than describing hairstyles and bell bottom jeans or wallpaper styles of the rooms, Zuras lets teenage Zain come alive without those “set the scene” details but evoking what being a teenager is like: sometimes your parents seem alien, sometimes it can be a lark to pocket something from a store, and sometimes catching a buzz on beer is a passable way to spend an afternoon. It’s a mature debut, that’s for sure. I liked the style of the book; it’s a brisk read but not a conventional one. The characters are not easily sympathetic but they’re drawn with very human frailties that made what happens to them seem imperative. Definitely, “The Bastard Year” is a highlight of my reading season.
BookAddictFL More than 1 year ago
This coming of age novella follows Zain through a tumultuous year in his life. The overall tone here is sadness. Zain's world is lonely and, at times, bleak. We're shown how a family that doesn't communicate crumbles beneath the weight of their silence. I would have liked a bit more insight into the characters, but that is my own preference. The deliberate lack of detail reflects the characters' isolation and loneliness. As readers, we often feel as in the dark as they do. This is an excellent first novel by Richard Zuras. I'm looking forward to many more.