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Black Swan, 2005 - Bildungsromans - 313 pages
1 Review
Calvin Dort Becker returns in a timely and timeless story about the volcanic sexual curiosity of a 14 year-old boy born in a fundamentalist family so strict that he's never seen a film, watched television or danced (and even has to hide his 5 precious copies of 'Mad' magazine in the attic). It is 1966 and Ralph and Elsa Becker, devout Presbyterian missionaries from Kansas stationed in Switzerland, have embarked on their modest annual skiing holiday with their three children: sadistic 18-year old Janet, angelic Rachael, and our narrator, the irrepressible and still innocent Calvin who puzzles over his sisters' bras as they hang on the washing line, hidden by billowing sheets...But at the Hotel Riffelberg, a supposed safe haven from those jazz loving sinners further down the mountain in Zermatt, Calvin falls willingly into the hands of Eva, the young waitress who begins his initiation into ecstasies he can barely comprehend. When his mother catches him supposedly in the act, the resulting family crisis triggers an even greater crisis of faith in his father that results in a climactic end to Calvin's childhood. (and humane) voice, ZERMATT is a tender, true and laugh-out-loud funny coming-of-age gem.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mydomino1978 - LibraryThing

It has been quite a while since I read a book that made me laugh out loud. Calvin Dort Becker, age 14, belongs to an ultra-religious family that is as dysfunctional as any other. Trying to grow up and ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

The last of a trilogy (Portofino, 1992; Saving Grandma, 1997), this set in 1966, about the mixed-up childhood of Calvin Becker, whose parents were missionaries working to save the Swiss.At 14, Calvin ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

The son of missionary parents, Frank Scaeffer was born in 1952 and when young did live in Switzerland and holiday on the Italian Riviera. He now lives in New York and Massachusetts. Portofino was his first novel, Zermatt continues the story of Calvin Becker and his hilarious, holier-than-thou family. With his son John, he wrote the New York Times bestseller, Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story about Love and the United States Marine Corps.

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