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Family Dancing Paperback – November 14, 1997
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"Astonishing -- funny, eloquent, and wise." (The New York Times)
About the Author
David Leavitt's first collection of stories, Family Dancing, was published when he was just twenty-three and was a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Prize. The Lost Language of Cranes was made into a BBC film, and While England Sleeps was short-listed for the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize. With Mark Mitchell, he coedited The Penguin Book of Short Stories, Pages Passed from Hand to Hand, and cowrote Italian Pleasures. Leavitt is a recipient of fellowships from both the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He divides his time between Italy and Florida.
Top customer reviews
This is an often hilarious book, but it's by no means a happy one. The observations about baseball, and of baseball, are incisive, but at the same time you don't need to be a baseball fan to enjoy the novel. It's one of the subtle characteristics of this book, as with any (well-done) book about a subculture, in that if you know the subculture, you'll recognize a nuanced description of it, but if you don't, you'll feel immersed in a new world.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend reading this in the dark of winter after your team has choked out yet another futile season, but as a book of deep comic depression, it makes for good summer reading when you have a live ballgame to fall back on when you're all done.
A minor classic in 9 chapters.
The opening story, "Territory", in 24 pages, depicts the unspoken and unfathomable distance between a mother and her Gay son so perfectly you feel you could put the book down right there and would have gotten your monies worth.
This is perfect, brush-stroke writing that breaks into your heart and stays there.
Carkeet's prose is cute, and occasionally powerful. But the book is not particularly strong.
Highly recommended, and if you enjoy this, you'll also enjoy his novels on linguist-for-hire (I'm not making this up) Jeremy Cook, _Double Negative_, _The Full Catastrophe_, and _The Error of Our Ways_.
The first story, "Territory," (about a young man bringing his first boyfriend home to meet his mom) was the first "gay" short story published in The New Yorker magazine (when Leavitt himself was only 21) and I remember reading it over and over again, amazed at the seemingly simple story which covered so much emotional terrain.
It was the last story in the book, "Dedicated," which was the one that probably had the most affect on me though--as it was so much a story I wish I'd written. Telling the tale of 3 friends (Nathan, Celia and Andrew...characters Leavitt would visit twice more in the future, and, hopefully, will again some day) over the course of a weekend in the Hamptons. It's a story about love, friendship, jealousy, sex, desire, parents and children.
Leavitt went on to write other short stories and novels and non-fiction on numerous topics--and, probably, he's technically a better writer now than when he wrote these stories. And though I've enjoyed many of them, I'll likely always love this book (and his next one--the novel "The Lost Language of Cranes") more than anything else he'll ever write.
Most recent customer reviews
The main problem for me was that this book had no discernible plot.Read more