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3.4 out of 5 stars48
3.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This saga of a saga of bringing home sons before death strikes, I found a difficult read. Not because the book is badly written - it isn't, indeed the author has the talent to provide the apposite phrase more often than not in an entertaining way. However, you have to like at least one character in every novel, and none of the people here came into that category. As wearisome characters emerged one by one, my will to carry on reading ebbed away. David Gilbert is clearly an enormous talent and his literary style is engaging, but not enough to see me through this particular novel
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It took me a long time to finish this book. I gave up on it four times in total, each time promising myself that I would pass it on to someone that might appreciate it more but a week later would give it yet another go, always mindful of my obligation to post a review of it on Amazon. Usually I have a self-imposed rule that if I am not enjoying a book I will give up on it; I read for the enjoyment that it gives me so why read something that I am not enjoying? I wish I had stuck to this rule with And Sons because I have derived no enjoyment from it whatsoever.

It is not the story as the story is fine; I just didn’t like how it was written. David Gilbert is clearly a very clever writer, a very skilful writer. Unfortunately when I was reading this book my mind kept being drawn back to a player that we had down at Bradford City a good few seasons ago. This particular player was fast and had excellent ball control; he could beat defenders with his eyes closed and probably often did. The only trouble is that despite his skills there was never much of an end product to them. He would beat three men but at the end of it all the ball would be further away from the goal than it was before he received it. A simple pass would have been more effective. I had the same feelings reading this book; quite often I would find myself “getting into” the story when, just like the footballer, Gilbert would start off on a dribble, but also just like the footballer, whilst it looked quite dazzling in the end the outcome was pretty pointless.

The author displays his talent in practically every paragraph but I can’t help but feel that that was exactly his intention in writing this book – clearly he wanted to tell a story but primarily he has strived to put his talent on full display. To put it bluntly, with And Sons he’s just showing off.

This is clearly a "marmite" book which you will either love or hate. I'll have marmalade instead.
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on 30 March 2014
It's not very good. There is something that doesn't quite work in this sprawling and well-intended novel. There is no glue to bind it all together, making pretty much everything lose it's significance. The characters seem to all have had interesting back stories but the events we are related are pedestrian. Ultimately, the authorial trick of explaining things you don't know by pretending you do know them - one I can remember Kazuo Ishiguro using so well a couple if times - falls flat so thoroughly that any reader lose interest.
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on 1 October 2014
Boring - story to long winded & wordy!
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on 19 January 2015
Interesting relationships between the characters in this book but they are all incredibly strange men! At the end I wasn't really sure what the point of the book was.
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on 24 October 2015
I am no literary critic and the rating is for my future reference. I found this book enjoyable and insightful and I liked his prose.
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really enjoyed this book. Beautifully written with an engaging story. It is one of those books that too much explanation of the plot spoils the book – I came at it knowing almost nothing and discovering the story as I read was one of the enjoyable things about this book. It is proper old fashioned literary fiction and would appeal to anyone who likes to get their teeth into a book and be swept away by faultless prose. I did find myself getting bogged down a bit in the middle of the book, and had to make myself read on, (hence only 4 stars) but it was ultimately worth it. Definitely a book to keep on the shelf to re-read again in a few years.
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on 22 February 2015
A long and pretentious book, in need of cutting and better editing.
Some have obviously liked it enormously, but this kind of self indulgent writing, boring, rambling and plot less, will I am certain leave many readers uninterested, and for sure unimpressed.

The scenes looking for pretzels, in I think Central Park, and another interminable sequence in the Frick Collection, no doubt thought by some to be the pinnacle of literary perfection, are to me just weary, endless prose to be got though somehow, with a feeling of, to quote Peggy Lee's song, "Is That All There Is?"
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on 28 February 2015
Tried and tried – believe me I tried. I hate putting a book down before the end – rarely if ever do so. I gave it a fair chance but gave up after 70 pages. Suddenly thought – hey – I’ve only got maybe another 20 years left at the most and there’s other things I should be focussing on. Realised that I didn’t care about any of the characters unless there was some indication that they would all self-combust. Sorry...
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VINE VOICEon 1 March 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
David Gilbert writes scintillating prose that will make you want to reread sentences and whole paragraphs. He is also a very acute observer of American life, with a wicked sense of humour that breaks through the pain of what is a brilliant story of the difficult relationships between fathers and sons. If you like writers like Roth,Updike,Bellow and Franzen you will probably enjoy this too.
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