“Fathers start as gods and end as myths and in between whatever human form they take can be calamitous for their sons”.
A.N. Dyer, the legendary, Salinger-esque author of Ampersand, has just recently lost his closest friend in the world, Charles Topping. Among other concerns, his difficulties in delivering a proper eulogy (which he purchased from an online service), force him to try and reconnect with his two eldest sons (Richard and Jamie), as he feels his youngest boy, Andy (the result of a rumored affair which led to the end of his marriage), will need them after he dies.
David Gilbert’s & Sons leads us through the lives of these Dyer men, as well as that of Philip Topping (the youngest child of Charles and childhood “friend” of the older Dyer boys), our narrator. Throughout the book, we witness the lasting damage fathers and sons can and often do have on one another, even when all involved have only the best of intentions. While Gilbert demonstrates great skill when writing about the father-son dynamic, his numerous subplots (which include a novel-within-a-novel, as well as the possibility of a “clone”) occasionally take away more than they add to the overall narrative. In addition, the female characters, (besides a few notable exceptions) are largely ignored and treated poorly. While I ultimately enjoyed the book (and do recommend it), it falls into the “good but not great” category.