And Sons: A Novel
And Sons is the literary equivalent of eating at a five-star restaurant.
The book is about, obviously, fathers and sons. But it is also about relationships in general, life and death, what it means to be human, and one’s sense of self/identity. It follows a series of father and son relationships in many states of disrepair, and is told from the point of view of an outsider to the seemingly central characters. But the plot of this book isn’t nearly as important as the experience of reading it. It is so well put together, every word clearly given serious weight and chosen very carefully, and reading it feels good.
The many layers of this book are impressive as well. Gilbert has fully imagined and fleshed out the career and works of his main character (a recluse author), and uses them cleverly as frames for his own characters. Each character has their own complex and colorful back-stories that, when woven together with the others, creates a rich tapestry of a novel. I think serious readers and writers alike will truly appreciate the craftsmanship that went into this novel. Seriously, go read it.
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