Amateur BarbariansBook - 2009
Artfully juxtaposing two contrasting personalities (as he did in Inspired Sleep), Cohen explores the terrain of male middle age in a novel that keenly observes the dissatisfactions of contemporary life. Teddy Hastings, the 53-year-old principal of a New England middle school, yearns for a grand adventure that would celebrate his manhood. Restless and impulsive, Teddy unwittingly causes a scandal that lands him briefly in jail. Disgraced and forced to take a sabbatical, Teddy leaves his wife, Gail, behind and flies to Ethiopia, where his college dropout daughter is working with orphans. Meanwhile, Oren Pierce, the younger man appointed in Teddy's absence, skitters through life in the same manner he has always done: perennially uncommitted, congenitally irresolute, though he is eventually forced to confront the limits of his desultory lifestyle. (Gail comes into play, as well.) Teddy's sojourn in Africa is the most dynamic part of the book, though it is Gail who acts as the novel's fulcrum; witty, sensual, focused and centered in reality, she remains an indelible figure as the two men in her orbit are diminished by the collapse of their dreams and expectations.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2009
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
Branch Call Number: F COH
Characteristics: 401 p. ; 24 cm