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4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 1998 --  

Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: GROVE PRESS (1998)
  • ASIN: B000JGP2S0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful and troubling 20 Jun 1999
By A Customer
"Two Guys From Verona" is a beautifully written book about a couple of characters so realistic you could probably lift samples of their DNA from the typeface. Like most worthwhile works of art, however, it leaves the reader pondering some troubling questions. For instance, I wasn't sure why one of the characters, who is portrayed as kind and decent, agreed to allow a rapist to adopt her newborn daughter. Also, Kaplan's odd couple -- Will Weiss and Joel Gold -- seem throughout the book to be acting out a virtual parable of the wages of materialism: Weiss is made miserable by his constant need for more money, while Gold appears to be slightly happier because he prefers simple pleasures (cruising in his Impala, writing poetry) to the obsessive quest for money and material gain. Thus the revelation in the end that Gold is actually the more materially wealthy of the two seems a bit confusing. Is Kaplan telling us that it's okay to amass large sums of money as long as you don't let its accumulation rule your life? At any rate, there is plenty of ambiguity in the book, which makes it all the more enjoyable to read. I suspect one could read this novel a dozen times and never fathom its depths entirely. James Kaplan's "Two Guys From Verona" is one of the few books about the end of this century that is likely to be around for the end of the next one as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of baby boomers in suburbia 20 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Frankly, I bought Two Guys From Verona because I grew up in Cedar Grove, the New Jersey town that neighbors Verona. And when I read the jacket copy comparing Kaplan's fiction to Updike, Salinger, and Cheever, I thought I was being set up for a big disappointment. Quite to the contrary, the book swept aside my reservations from the moment I opened it. I was drawn into the lives of Kaplan's incredibly engaging characters and the wonderfully tense situations he creates for them. I found myself compelled to recount every scene to my girlfriend who also hung on every word. If the book has any fault, it is its all-to-quick wrap-up; I would have preferred the loose ends to remain unravelled. Though I am a lifelong reader, it is the rare book that "I can't put down." Two Guys From Verona is one such book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars middle aged suburbanites cope with life 19 Jun 1998
By A Customer
Engaging contrast between "well to do" guy who seems to have it all, and his loser best friend. Will the tables get turned by the end of the story - what do you think? I anticipated most of the plot lines well ahead of time, but all in all, it wasn't an unpleasant read. The one thing that truly touched me about the story was how neglected the children were. The parents were totally absorbed with their own lives and so the children always ended up parked in front of the TV day and night - an all too accurate (and sad) commentary about life in our times I'm afraid.
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By A Customer
One of the most disturbingly accurate books on life in our I'm-owed civilization I've ever read. Kaplan shows that middle age starts young and that you never stop thinking about your youth even after you've supposedly grown up. The longing never dies. If you grew up in suburban Jersey, you'll know these people and remember why you loved and hated the ones you loved and hated.
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