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The Vast Fields of Ordinary Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (May 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803733402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803733404
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #669,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Burd takes a familiar plot and makes it author to watch."
--Publishers Weekly

"A fascinating and dreamy first novel.'"
--New York Times

"...a refreshingly honest, sometimes funny, and often tender novel."
--School Library Journal, starred review

"Burd breathes new life into the old coming-out formula...One of the best in a new generation of LGBTQ novels, it can stand alongside Peter Cameron's and Brian Sloan's."
--Kirkus, starred review

“Nick Burd's The Vast Fields of Ordinary is bold. Engaging. Heartbreaking. A book worthy of attention.”
--Ellen Hopkins

"The Vast Fields of Ordinary is a wonderfully engaging and satisfying book about all kinds of growing: growing up, growing together, growing apart. Dade Hamilton and his family and friends (and enemies) are all vividly and complexly imagined and realized, and I loved spending time with them. Nick Burd's extremely accomplished and beautifully detailed prose reanimates the usually moribund American suburban wasteland, like an alchemist, he finds the wonder in the ordinary."

"Nick Burd's debut novel unfolds like the summer vacation it chronicles: in the beginning the vista seems limitless, but as the pages turn and the days pass the plot thickens and the end comes way before you're ready to put it down. This is a mysterious, funny, wise, generous story, and its main character is someone you need to know, and you'll never forget."
--Dale Peck, author of MARTING & JOHN and SPROUT

"Who can resist a kid who survives his senior year of high school despite having been given the nickname Vagisil? Not I... Dade Hamilton's coming-of-age tale with a Midwest twist is devastatingly real, but it's also funny, touching, and ultimately quite hopeful."
--T Cooper, author of LIPSHITZ SIX, OR TWO ANGRY

"A brilliant account of alienation and angst in the heartland."
--Quest magazine

About the Author

Nick Burd attended the University of Iowa and received his MFA from The New School. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Vast Fields of Ordinary is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

I read this book in one sitting.
Dade's feelings for Alex are utterly believable because Burd makes us fall in love with Alex too.
Bryan Wildenthal
Somehow, I missed out on a lot of things when I was a teen, so books like this one appeal to me.
Traveling Librarian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Darcy Wishard on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is definitely one of the best books I've read in long time. I couldn't put it down! Through the author's mesmerizing writing I could feel the sheer loneliness that Dade felt growing up in a midwestern town feeling isolated and out of place as he laid in his bed night confessing to his ceiling fan he is gay. Don't get me wrong, Dade never comes across as helpless or pitiful (maybe a little unsure of himself) instead you can see he is biding his time believing that there has to be more out there for him. His first attempt at reaching out is Pablo a boy he loves but who is using him to express physical feelings he can't even admit to himself. Although Pablo treats Dade horribly and is pretty much a jerk, I couldn't help feeling sorry for him as he desperately tried to deny who he really is.
A bright for spot for Dade is when he meets the neighbors niece who is staying for the summer. She is the first person who really pushes Dade to be himself and shows him he is actually a pretty great guy. I would hate to see this book get tagged as only a gay "coming out" book. It's a great read and comes a cross as one point of view of the thousands of teens out there who are just trying to figure out who they are, dealing with what life throws at them and wondering what life has in store for them.
Moderately sexual explicit scenes a long with drinking and drug use make this book appropriate for high school and above.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on July 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nick Burd has written a terrific novel about a gay teenager from Iowa. "The Vast Fields of Ordinary" probes the depth of feelings of the main character, Dade Hamilton, and Burd comes up with a warm, troubling and accurate view of coming out.

While the book is timely for Dade's own generation it has ramifications for older generations as well. Being gay in America is still fraught with complications on many levels and those who think that recent easing of the public view of homosexuality makes life better, need to be reminded (as the author does for the reader) of the troubling internal and external aspects of leading a double life.

Although Dade comes out to his parents and friends without too much repercussion, Burd deftly explores Dade's relationship with Alex, his main love, and Pablo, his sometime companion. The Jenny Moore character serves as an unnecessary diversion to an otherwise brilliant narrative, but Dade's gay friendships are wonderfully presented and carry a good deal of literary weight. "The Vast Fields of Ordinary" is a compelling first novel by Nick Burd....I hope we read more from him.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RGallagher on August 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This novel is about Dade Hamilton's last summer at home. He goes to parties, goes to work and meets a few friends. The boy he's fooling around with pretty much dumps him and he meets a new boy named Alex who he falls in love with.

Okay, I liked this book overall but there were a lot of things I didn't like about it. I think there were too many side plots going on and none of them were really developed at all. The whole thing with Jenny Moore was weird, and didn't really have anything to do with the story line. The problems between his parents was also weird and pretty anti-climactic.

I didn't much like the ending either. It seemed rushed and was also a bit anti-climactic. The author had some interesting ideas for the ending, but he kinda just crammed them all together in an overview plot summary. The ending leaves you with a lot of questions - What happened to Jenny? What happen with Pablo? What happened with Alex?

It also seemed like some of the characters were bipolar. One minute they wanted to be his best friend, and then next they were bitching and yelling at him. Pablo and "Fessica" (A crappy name IMO) in particular. The whole scene with Pablo in the milk cooler was unnecessary too. (Don't forget creepy.)

But for some reason, I liked the book over all. I enjoyed Dade's relationship with Alex, and I could relate to some of the things he was going through. The novel was well written, free of any blaring grammatical or punctuation mistakes. Once I got through the first chapter or two, it was a pretty engaging novel. =)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wilson on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best young adult novels I have read, although I feel it transcends that limiting genre. The main protagonist is someone I identified closely with on every page. He was very real and very touching. The descriptions were excellent throughout; the author has a wonderful sense of style. His way of seeing the world and putting it into words made me stop and reflect on many different occasions. And the sense of humor and high sense of the absurd are fantastic. I hope that this is the first of many novels by this talented author. I look forward to reading anything else he might write.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Greenwaldt on December 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this the other night and stayed up until 6 AM before putting it down. I didn't want to, but I was enjoying it so much that I didn't want it to be over with. Plus, my eyelids were getting really heavy. Then the next day I had to work until 11:30 PM and all I could think about was getting home so I could finish the book. I finished it around 4 AM and was so sad it was over. I absolutely loved it. I loved the main character. I got the book from the library but will now buy my own copy. I rarely buy a book after reading it because I don't usually plan on reading them again in the future, and while I've never re-read a book yet, I do plan on reading this one again sometime. I'd like to revisit it when I don't remember all of the details. It's the best book I've read since "Call Me By Your Name," another I had to purchase afterwards. I think these are the only two books I've purchased after having read them. I know this is probably best as a stand alone book and a sequel could ruin the impact, but I would love one. I adored the main character and wasn't ready to leave him. If Nick ever writes one I would have my copy pre-ordered the moment it was available to pre-order.

Anyway, this is such a wonderful book. Now one of my favorites.
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