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Dean Bakopoulos is a former bookseller, and has published fiction is Zoetrope and other journals. In 2004 he was named one of Americaâ€™s best new novel writers by Virginia Quarterly. He lives in Wisconsin.
A poignant tale set in suburban America amidst a close-knit community of Poles and Ukranians. It is about growing up fatherless with the world against you. When all their fathers leave town one by one, the boys of the neighbourhood must grow up quickly and become men before their time. This is moving and heart-warming and a real coming-of-age tale, lyrical and rewarding. Highly recommended.Comparison: Leif Enger, Matt Dunn,Jennifer Haigh.Similar this month: John Bennett.
When I was sixteen, my father went to the moon. When Michael was sixteen his father left home. He wasn't the first to go. One by one other men in the blue-collar neighbourhood outside Detroit where Michael lives vanish. One props open the door to his shoe store and leaves a note. 'I'm going to the moon,' it reads, 'I took all the cash'. The wives are left behind, and with few jobs and fewer opportunities they drink, brawl, sleep around, and gradually make new lives knowing their husbands are never coming back. Michael and his friends grow up. They try to get an education, start their first jobs, fall in love and begin to build families of their own. Until one night the restlessness of their fathers blooms in them, threatening to carry them away. This is a haunting, unforgettable debut novel of fathers and sons, and of growing up the hard way. Shot through with magic and brimming with humanity, it is a novel for anyone who has even been left longing.
In the sweltering heat of one summer in Grinnell, Iowa, Claire and Don Lowry discover that married life can fall apart seemingly overnight. Don, the town's most successful real-estate agent, is hiding the fact that their home is in foreclosure from his wife, Claire. She has secrets of her own: she's bored, lonely and lusts after Charlie Gulliver, a failed actor who has returned home to sort out his father's affairs. As the summer lingers and the temperature rises, the town's adults grow wilder and more reckless while their children grow increasingly confused. Claire, Don, and their neighbours and friends find themselves on an existential odyssey, exploring the most puzzling quandaries of marriage and maturity. When does a fantasy become infidelity? When does happy routine become boring monotony? Can Claire and Don survive everything that befalls them in this one summer, forgive their mistakes, and begin again? Summerlong is a deft and hilarious exploration of the simmering tensions beneath the surface of a contented marriage that explode in the bedrooms and backyards of a small town over the course of a long, hot summer.