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The Topeka school

by Lerner, Ben, 1979-

Format: OverDrive Read 2019 2019
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Summary
Named one of the most anticipated fall books by: The New York Times Book Review , Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Vogue, Vulture , The Observer, Kirkus, Lit Hub, The Millions, The Week, Oprah Magazine, The Paris Review Daily, Nylon, Pacific Standard, Publishers Weekly, Slate, The Philadelphia Inquirer , USA Today , the New York Post, and The Guardian From the award-winning author of 10:04 and Leaving the Atocha Station , a tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of '97. His mother, Jane, is a famous feminist author; his father, Jonathan, is an expert at getting "lost boys" to open up. They both work at a psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. Adam is a renowned debater, expected to win a national championship before he heads to college. He is one of the cool kids, ready to fight or, better, freestyle about fighting if it keeps his peers from thinking of him as weak. Adam is also one of the seniors who bring the loner Darren Eberheart{u2014}who is, unbeknownst to Adam, his father's patient{u2014}into the social scene, to disastrous effect. Deftly shifting perspectives and time periods, The Topeka School is the story of a family, its struggles and its strengths: Jane's reckoning with the legacy of an abusive father, Jonathan's marital transgressions, the challenge of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity. It is also a riveting prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the trolls and tyrants of the New Right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The messy relationship between masculinity and language drives this seeking, eloquent story by poet-novelist Lerner (10:04, 2014; Leaving Atocha Station, 2011). Adam Gordon (maybe the same Adam Gordon as in Leaving Atocha Station, maybe not) is a debate-team prodigy. The son of talk-therapy professionals, Adam loves poetry and believes in the power of words. At parties, after a few drinks, freestyle rap keeps him out of fights, unlike his damaged classmate Darren, whose violent impulses are neither sublimated into nor constrained by mere words. Seeking early stirrings of today's sociopolitical tensions in 1990s Kansas, Lerner interrogates Adam's personal origins, dependency upon language, and the complicity tacit in his adolescent oblivion. Chapters narrated by Adam's psychologist parents reveal other masculine transgressions and suggest that Adam's issues are not his alone. The ekphrastic style and autofictional tendencies echo Lerner's earlier works, and his focus on language games and their discontents fits nicely within the 1990s setting. But the fear at the core of this tale that language, no matter how thoroughly mastered or artfully presented, simply isn't enough feels new and urgent.--Brendan Driscoll Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Lerner made a huge impact on contemporary fiction with his two previous drawn-from-life novels, Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04. With his latest, he leaves behind his typically erudite first-person protagonists in favor of a Kansas boyhood in the 1990s. For the time being, high school senior Adam Gordon can only dream of "a vaguely imagined East Coast city where his experiences in Topeka could be recounted only with great irony." But he is a brilliant member of the debate club and the son of two psychotherapists, Jonathan and Jane, who are tied to the Foundation, an experimental treatment facility where Adam is himself a patient of the eccentric (and possibly psychic) Dr. Kenneth Erwood. Readers delve deeper in the Foundation in evocative chapters narrated by Adam's parents, who tell the story of their courtship, Jonathan's extramarital affair with Jane's best friend Sima, and adventures in academia. Also haunting the novel is the figure of Darren, a teenage outsider whose inclusion in Adam's clique ends in a disastrous act of violence. Lerner's greatest strength lies in interstitial period details in the zeitgeist: Bob Dole, Reverend Fred Phelps, and Tupac Shakur. Loosely plotted but riveting, this novel expertly locates the thread of the anxious present in the memory-stippled past. (Oct.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Fiction
Literature
Electronic books.
Domestic fiction.
Publisher [Place of publication not identified] :Farrar, Straus and Giroux2019
2019
Edition First edition.
Contributors OverDrive, Inc.
Language English
System Details Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Format: Adobe EPUB eBook
Format: Kindle Book
Format: OverDrive Read
Requires Adobe Digital Editions or Amazon Kindle
Description 1 online resource
ISBN 9780374721183
9780374721183
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