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Little Caesar Paperback – November 6, 2012
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Award-winning Dutch author Wieringa’s second coming-of-age novel (after Joe Speedboat, 2010) attacks that theme with elements of dysfunction, nihilism, and incestuous overtones. Ludwig Unger spends his formative years with his egocentric, ex-porn-star mother in a house perched precariously atop an eroding cliff on the coast of England. Near the end of his school years, the cliff and house wash away, and his mother returns to the limelight. Left with no parent, no home, and no plans for his future, Ludwig follows his mother for a time before seeking his destiny as a hotel-bar pianist, ultimately going in search of his father. His journey spans four continents and ends back in the only town he ever thought of as home when he arrives to scatter his mother’s ashes. Told from that point in flashback, the story suffers from a few clumsy transitions, and the sexually charged nature of Ludwig’s relationship with his mother will be off-putting for some. Nevertheless, the emotional journey is well conceived and deeply thought-provoking and will please many. --Cortney Ophoff
"Although perfectly charming as picaresque, the tragedy of Unger’s plight registers just as strongly as its understated oddness . . . Wieringa plays for keeps." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The poet Philip Larkin’s famous observation that your mom and dad really mess you up is aptly illustrated in this offbeat, atmospheric novel . . . [a] haunting book." Kirkus Reviews
"A potent, emotionally moving, beautifully realized novel about a young man seeking to understand his difficult, eccentric parents. . . . Wieringa masterfully examines the complex and often agonizing work that many of us undertake to live our own healthy, independent, adult lives." Library Journal
"Tommy Wieringa’s inventive coming-of-age novel [involves] deeply flawed characters, maddening in their poor choices, but in Wieringa’s nimble hands, they elicit our sympathy." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Tommy Wieringa's ambitious novel is a brilliant exploration of the uneasy transition from adolescence into adulthoodthe restlessness, yearning for stability, irrational decisions and erotic obsessions." The Independent (UK)