Amateur Barbarians: A Novel

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Simon and Schuster, Jul 7, 2009 - Fiction - 416 pages
2 Reviews
Acclaimed, award-winning novelist Robert Cohen delivers a bold, provocative exploration of the panic of midlife, follow- ing two men plateaued on either side of their forties and the unexpected consequences of changing course.

Teddy Hastings is a New England middle school principal  desperate  for  transcendence.  Unmoored  by  his brother’s death and a health scare of his own, he tries to broaden his ordinary life and winds up unemployed and on the wrong side of the law. Meanwhile, Oren Pierce, a per- petual grad student from New York, abandons, somewhat to his own surprise, his search for the extraordinary and begins settling into the humble existence that Teddy seeks to escape. What comforts Oren alarms Teddy, and their paths overlap as Teddy’s quest for the unknown and unfamiliar experience takes him on a rash trip to Africa, leaving Oren to assume the trappings of his life, including Teddy’s wife Gail.

Amateur Barbarians showcases a writer at the peak of his powers, tracing domestic ambivalence, the comic perils of introspection and desire, and the terror of an unlived life with Cohen’s signature wit and uncanny perception, proving yet again why he was touted by The New York Times Book Review as the “heir to Saul Bellow and Philip Roth.”
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - johnluiz - LibraryThing

A wonderfully written tale of a man going through a mid-life crisis, who shares alternating chapters with 30-year-old man trying to get a start on adulthood. Wonderful insights into male psyche here ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - theageofsilt - LibraryThing

I didn't enjoy this. The characters were too ordinary to be interesting. The writing was also quite ordinary, especially in the early chapters when the author made comparison after comparison using ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
21
Section 3
59
Section 4
93
Section 5
109
Section 6
131
Section 7
207
Section 8
255
Section 9
281
Section 10
299
Section 11
325
Section 12
335
Section 13
363
Section 14
385
Section 15
403
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Robert Cohen is the author of three previous novels, The Organ Builder, The Here and Now, and Inspired Sleep, and a collection of short stories. Winner of a Lila Atcheston Wallace -Reader's Digest Writers Award, the Ribalow Prize, The Pushcart Prize, and a Whiting Award, he has published short fiction in a variety of publications -- including Harpers, GQ, The Paris Review and Ploughshares. He has taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop, Harvard University, and Middlebury College. He lives in Vermont.

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