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Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home Paperback – May 8, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
LATITUDES presents the story of a bi-cultural child. Caplan artfully navigates the reader through Will's experiences, who tries to make sense of and understand the world around him as his parents abduct him and his siblings not once but twice.Maureen Dabbagh, author of "Parental Kidnapping in America: An Historical and Cultural Analysis"
'Will looks back to their difficult, tumultuous childhood...An engaging story carried forward by well-written prose." KIRKUS REVIEWS
About the Author
Anthony Caplan is an independent writer, teacher and homesteader in northern New England. He has worked at various times as a shrimp fisherman, environmental activist, journalist, taxi-driver, builder, window-washer, and telemarketer, (the last for only a month, but one week he did win a four tape set of the greatest hits of George Jones for selling the most copies of Time-Life's The Loggers.) Currently, Caplan is working on restoring a 150 year old farmstead where he and his family tend sheep and chickens, grow most of their own vegetables, and have started a small apple orchard from scratch His road novels, BIRDMAN and FRENCH POND ROAD, trace the meanderings of one Billy Kagan, a footloose soul striving after sanity and love in the last years of the last century. His latest fiction effort, LATITUDES - A Story of Coming Home, is a young boy's transformative journey overcoming dysfunction, dislocation and distance.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anthony Caplan makes this story work by using language that is smart and poignant. `Those were Will's parents in a nutshell, the hair-trigger, physical impetuousness of Mother that bordered on absurdity and Father's curiously ambivalent combination of desire and resignation.' He is able to see the world for a child's vantage: `Will waited for the coming of the seasons, for the ebb and flow of gentle time, for some kind of normalcy, but most of all for the end of the empty silence between his parents.' And at times Caplan shows his depth of understanding literature of the past in deciphering consequences of the present: 'The idea attributed to Tolstoy, to the effect that happiness in a family is the template, and the unhappy family, by contrast, is the breeding ground for the stuff of art, has been turned on its head. Nowadays, the mold by which we form our children is a broken one, and the stable home setting is the exception, or at least it increasingly seems so judging by the books in the racks of bookstores. But Will and his family were pioneers of the coming age, the Me Decade as it was termed in the news magazines.' And here and there Caplan drops such salient statements as `When the world is broken for a child, the adults who have done the breaking are rarely in a position to do the gluing' and `Will felt trapped in a world that beggared description, between two languages, adrift in a land where he did not belong, without a reference or a model for life'.
To summarize, LATITUDES is a captivating story about issues that make the headlines today but more importantly, it is a book about those issues that go undiscussed today. Children have needs and solid parenting is the resource for those needs. The decision to bear children is a heady one and one that takes a life commitment from those who create a child. Anthony Caplan has successfully written a taut and engrossing novel, but he has also taken a stand on critical subjects that direly need our attention. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 12
Here, young Will is dealing with the divorce of his parents and a hefty custody battle. It's so bad that kidnapping is involved (twice) and a game of tug-o-war with sides across two continents.
Caplan writes with strong prose, keeping the questioning mind of a child in mind and their eagerness to belong despite being at the mercy of their parents' behavior. We also see equal sides in the use of setting: New York and Venezuela.
Even at 18 when my own parents divorced, I suffered during my last semester of high school. I was the last child at home and worried about the welfare of my mother. Could I go off to college and not have to worry about her being alone now? There was also the animosity I already had toward my father even when he was at home; it only grew worse now out of my anger for him leaving my mother.
As Caplan states in the book, when the parents have caused a child pain they are rarely in the position with the ability to fix it. It takes time, which is why this is labeled a "coming of age" story perhaps. I myself accepted the fate of my parents, was assured my mother would be okay as I left to discover the real world on my own, and over time I forgave my father. We're closer now than we ever were when he lived at home.
While divorce certainly isn't a new subject these days (in society or fiction), I appreciate Caplan's approach. His use of voice was fresh and his writing style makes this a rich story that would appeal to many. His strong use of setting also adds a nice touch. I'd highly recommend this book to those experiencing divorce where children are involved. Life lessons prevail, as Caplan reminds us that home is where our family is.