Catching the Catcher

Writing a novel about the author of a brilliant, iconic, Salingeresque novel puts one in the awkward position of having to present the bits of novel-within-a-novel that appear in the novel-about-a-novelist as themselves brilliant, iconic and Salingeresque. Whether they are or aren't, the reader can't help but feel a little coerced. & Sons, by David Gilbert, doesn't solve that bind, but it isn't sunk by it either. It's an immensely clever book about one A.N. Dyer, the acclaimed author of a (fictional) novel called Ampersand, and his three sons Richard, Jamie and Andy.

When we meet Dyer, he's an old man...

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