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Comment: Clean and crisp withdrawn library copy. May have typical labels and markings. Protected with nice mylar jacket. We give no better than "good" condition for these books even though they are in very good condition. Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime shipping. 100% satisfaction guarantee. 24/7 Customer Service and package tracking.
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The Grievers Hardcover – May 15, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In his second novel (after The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl, 2011), Schuster homes in on the travails of an unhappy grad student. Charley Schwartz can’t seem to finish his dissertation and has taken a ludicrous job at a bank that requires him to dress up as a dollar sign. When he learns that his friend Billy Chin has committed suicide, he determines that a memorial fund should be set up at their prep school in Billy’s honor. What he has trouble admitting to himself is that he is feeling incredibly guilty, aware that he had not been a good friend to Billy, and is now anxious to make amends. But the preparations only seem to fuel his bitterness, as he watches in despair while an old nemesis turns the tribute into a fund-raiser. Yet with the support of his loving wife and long-suffering best friend, Charley somehow manages to do the right thing without launching into one of his signature rants. What starts out as a broadly humorous satire of dysfunction evolves into a surprisingly tender look at loss and grief. --Joanne Wilkinson

Review

Schuster s off-kilter portrait of a guy unsatisfied like the old Replacements song adds pivotal bite to the pre-programmed humor of his ensemble. --Kirkus

What starts out as a broadly humorous satire of dysfunction evolves into a surprisingly tender look at loss and grief. --Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist

Like the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, Marc Schuster s The Grievers blends the post-juvenile humor of adults refusing to grow up with aching pathos and biting touches of genius. Comedy travels hand in hand with tragedy in this novel, neither any further away than the next page, but both singing in tune. --Cafe Libri
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The Permanent Press (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579622631
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579622633
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,133,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A PhD student, stalled on his dissertation, takes a job wearing a silly costume waving to passing cars in front of a bank. Schuster creates a completely believable (though thoroughly ridiculous) character, whose wife is impossibly understanding, and whose friends are equally ridiculous. The Grievers is a great coming of age tale.
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Format: Hardcover
He had me at the cover.

The Grievers is about the loss of a sometime friend and how it affects one Charley Schwartz, a conflicted, angst-ridden human dollar sign for an unnamed bank of somewhat regional repute, champion of correct-and-proper apostrophe use, who's actually a sarcastically quick-of-wit doctoral student (not) working on his thesis, and who's married to a wife in a constant state of quiet Freudian interior design demolition. To grow up or not grow up. Quit the job or not quit the job. Move forward...or continue allowing oneself to be inexorably run over by life's daily and unrelenting--even dark--minutiae.

Suicide--in and of itself--is no laughing matter, but it's how the world responds to such Human Drama that can be the stuff of comedy--black or otherwise. Charley knew the deceased, Billy Chin. Well Kind of. Charley felt shame and remorse in not having been a better friend after having graduated from prep school and life getting in the way...but more so in not identifying nor taking action regarding his friend's ultimate demise.

The Grievers was like watching a comedic train wreck. A miniature Theater of the Absurd. Mr. Schuster wove together the interestingly obtuse into a coherent and redemptive storyline that was a pure joy to read (and I don't use the word "joy" much!). I enjoyed his words, their combination, their execution. The Grievers is controlled dysfunction. Keeping life safe and at arm's length. Everything is a joke to Charley Schwartz until he embarks on his own form of revisionist history with the deceased. Yet, the book is not so much about all the individual events, not even anthropomorphic dollar signs...it's about what it is to be human.

To err is human, to forgive is human, to GROW is human.

And if Charley's anything...he's definitely human.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a former student in many of Dr. Schuster's English classes, I was drawn into his writing almost instantaneously. It was challenging for me to understand, yet by the time I finished reading the book all I could do was laugh at myself because I could relate to the book having felt like one of The Grievers my entire life. If I had to give this book a grade it would be an A. Great work!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Grievers' - it's funny, poignant, and flows beautifully. Charley, our protagonist, is someone I think many people will identify with: so much potential, and a good and sensitive heart, and yet he can't stop himself from being annoying and immature. He is, however, acutely aware of this, which I found redeemed him as a character.
The ending is geuinely moving, and terrifically well written. It has a coming-of-age aspect which strikes a deep chord in the way that we are encouraged to behave from school and into adulthood. I can really see this book making a good film at some stage.
I'd highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
By Marc Schuster
The Permanent Press, 176 pgs
978-1-57962-263-3
Rating: 3.5

The Grievers by Marc Schuster is a short novel about how a group of friends responds to the suicide of one of their own. And it's much funnier than it sounds. Our protagonist is Charley Schwartz, one of a group of men who attended the same exclusive private high school in Philadelphia. They are a diverse lot. Charley has a master's in English but currently impersonates a dollar sign on a sidewalk fronting a bank. Neil is a lawyer and Charley's best friend and surrogate parental figure. Greg lives with his mother, trolls for women online and is insane. Dwayne is a cop. Sean is a social worker who sells Volkswagens on weekends. Anthony is a producer and director of improbable musicals (Hogan's Heroes.) Billy Chin was a pharmacist and then he jumped off a bridge.

The group gets together and decides to make a donation to their old school's scholarship fund in Billy's name. This is a fantastic idea, yes? Then the marketing department at the school hijacks the idea and turns Billy's death into an excuse to put together a Billy Chin Festival, masquerading as a memorial service.

The Grievers follows Charley as he attempts to come to terms with Billy's suicide and the spectacle of fundraising it has inspired, as well as the questions it poses for Charley's future. He knows it's past time to grow up, to drop the cynical facade, square his shoulders, and take the risks necessary to build a satisfying adult life. This is my favorite line: "Because living and dying walk hand in hand, and the alternative to both is neither - cold as a stone, unchanging and lifeless."

Is it too late for redemption?

For more of Marc Schuster: [...]

For the publisher: [...]
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Format: Kindle Edition
Like the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, Marc Schuster's The Grievers blends the post-juvenile humor of adults refusing to grow up with aching pathos and biting touches of genius. By the final memorial service for Billy Chin, the reader knows everything is bound to go wrong, and that somehow it will all turn out right. We're reading. We trust the writer and driver of this tale. And dysfunctional Charley's finally taking the wheel.

A satisfying story on many different levels, The Grievers starts with a phone call from Billy's mother, telling Charley his old school friend has killed himself. Meanwhile Charley is killing his hopes and his marriage with neglect. And "working at a bank" means dressing in a shiny foam dollar sign to wave at drivers from the grass.

If you think this sounds depressing, you just have to wait for Charley to lose his footing when the sprinklers come on. Or listen to his friend quote Marx brothers movies. Or ride along on a failed intervention when another friend falls off the rails. Comedy travels hand in hand with tragedy in this novel, neither any further away than the next page, but both singing in tune.

In soaps the dead can rise again, saved by mistaken identity. In real life, true identity might be revealed in the mourning process. Billy's death just might help Charley finally recognize himself. And the Henry Avenue Bridge in Philadelphia might reveal a different view when Charley learns to follow the road.

Disclosure: I received a free bound galley of this novel from the Permanent Press in exchange for my honest review.
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