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Trophy Son: A Novel Hardcover – May 30, 2017
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"Trophy Son brings Conroy's The Great Santini and Malamud's The Natural into the present day, tackling our dangerous obsession with youth athletics and single-sport specialization. A terrific book." - Harlan Coben
"Keenly observed and provocative... Trophy Son follows prodigy Anton Stratis from an isolated childhood of grueling practice under the eye of his overbearing father to his dramatic rise through the competitive world of professional tennis." - Sports Illustrated
"A Dickens-loving tennis prodigy finds himself the hero of his father's plot in Douglas Brunt's Trophy Son, which convincingly renders a pro-sports fishbowl peopled by drug-enhanced, endorsement-emblazoned warriors - and the attempts of one weary soldier to escape with his soul." - Vogue
"By believably conjuring a professional tennis prodigy who is ― of all things ― poetic, sensitive, and well-read, Douglas Brunt's Trophy Son takes us deeper inside the modern men's game than any nonfiction account could." –James Kaplan, author of Sinatra: The Chairman and co-author of You Cannot be Serious with John McEnroe
About the Author
Until 2011, Douglas Brunt was CEO of Authentium, Inc., an Internet security company. He is the author of two previous novels, the New York Times bestselling Ghosts of Manhattan and The Means. A Philadelphia native, he lives in New York with his wife and their three children.
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Top Customer Reviews
In Anton Stratis, Douglas Brunt has created a terrifically complex character. He's a tennis star, handsome and wealthy -- but at the same time, he's insecure, exhibits the charming honesty of a child, and longs for companionship. He carries within himself deep hurt, but he has no wish to hurt others (except his father, ultimately). His thoughts are startling recognizable. "I've never thought of myself as needing or seeking praise, but we all naturally like people who like us," he muses upon meeting someone new. Even as Anton makes bad choices, you root for him to find both happiness and success. The author has also invested effort into making his love interest a multi-faceted person as well -- Ana is a famous actress, but one who values friendship over fandom, one who realizes that beauty fades and knows who she is beyond her public persona. The conversations the two have are charming.
I know absolutely nothing about tennis, so I can't speak to whether the milieu Mr. Brunt creates is accurate. But you can follow along even if you don't know how tennis is played or scored. You can figure out the context in most cases, and you feel the tension of each match and celebrate with Anton at each win. The only thing I didn't care for (but I wouldn't dock a star for it) is that the intimate situations are so laughably the product of male fantasy that they rang false for me. I could have done without them. I also thought that although Anton makes moral compromises regarding women and performance-enhancing drugs, he suffers no real consequences, so there were some lost opportunities to heighten the drama of his decisions.
But these are minor quibbles. I rarely pick up fiction these days because I normally find fictional characters to be one-dimensional, over-the-top or unbelievable. If you read this book, though, you'll end up believing in Anton Stratis.