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A Stone Boat
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Though he's a rising classical pianist recording his first CD, Harry is experiencing ``the saddest period of my life.'' His mother is dying of cancer and she blames her illness on his homosexuality. ``My mother wanted me to have a perfect life, more perfect even than hers,'' Harry, who's in his mid-20s, observes in his wish to be seen as both a good son and an independent man. What he's keeping secret from his mother, however, is that, inspired by his attraction to a female friend, he's becoming aware of his fundamental bisexuality. Solomon's prose is stylish, sometimes beautiful, but it suffers from a vagueness that hovers about the relationships it describes (``When something saddened me, she came and joined me in my pain,'' says Harry of his mother). The characters live in a world of upper-class homes and hotels in Paris, London and Manhattan, with weekends in country homes and maids and chauffeurs at their disposal, a backdrop of privilege that sometimes edges into preciousness (``I associate my mother's entire illness with cut flowers,'' Harry notes). Yet the contrast between the idyllic existence money can buy and the inexorable ugliness of death is poignantly obvious. Harry's struggle to cope with his parent's impending death is observed with passion and conviction. Solomon (The Ivory Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost), a senior writer for the New York Times Magazine, shows great promise in his fiction debut. (Oct.)

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A beloved mother's death and its aftermath-One of the authentic achievements in American fiction' Harold Bloom

About the Author

Cambridge-educated UK/US national in his thirties, writes for The New Yorker and other US media. He has suffered from bouts of suicidal depression. Lives in New York, and sometimes London. Author of one novel.

Reviews

Though he's a rising classical pianist recording his first CD, Harry is experiencing ``the saddest period of my life.'' His mother is dying of cancer and she blames her illness on his homosexuality. ``My mother wanted me to have a perfect life, more perfect even than hers,'' Harry, who's in his mid-20s, observes in his wish to be seen as both a good son and an independent man. What he's keeping secret from his mother, however, is that, inspired by his attraction to a female friend, he's becoming aware of his fundamental bisexuality. Solomon's prose is stylish, sometimes beautiful, but it suffers from a vagueness that hovers about the relationships it describes (``When something saddened me, she came and joined me in my pain,'' says Harry of his mother). The characters live in a world of upper-class homes and hotels in Paris, London and Manhattan, with weekends in country homes and maids and chauffeurs at their disposal, a backdrop of privilege that sometimes edges into preciousness (``I associate my mother's entire illness with cut flowers,'' Harry notes). Yet the contrast between the idyllic existence money can buy and the inexorable ugliness of death is poignantly obvious. Harry's struggle to cope with his parent's impending death is observed with passion and conviction. Solomon (The Ivory Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost), a senior writer for the New York Times Magazine, shows great promise in his fiction debut. (Oct.)

"A shimmering remembrance of things past and a meditation on love and death...evokes with sensitivity and compassion teh severingof a deeply rooted, complex relationship" New York Times Book Review "Like a soloists cadenza , A Stone Boat is a technically brilliant, virtuoso piece of work" Sunday Telegraph "Brittle irony and teeming grief, a pairing that achieves an odd but perfect balance...the novel buzzes with bizarre charm" Sunday Times "A groundbreaking exploration of sexual identity adn a gripping narrative of loss" -- Naomi Wolf "These days, very few novels need to have been written: this one did. Andrew Solomon seems to have reached a moment of balance between a rush of feeling and the deliberateness of truth-tellling. It is the everyday thud and constant difficulty of sadness which is described so werll here, above any psychological nuance" -- Candida Clark Guardian

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