Dean Bakopoulos, Author . Harcourt $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-15-101135-3

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PLEASE DON'T COME BACK FROM THE MOON Dean Bakopoulos . Harcourt , $23 (288p) ISBN 0-15-101135-4

"When I was sixteen, my father went to the moon." Thus begins this debut novel about the mysterious disappearance of the men from a working-class suburb of Detroit. They go gradually, one by one, leaving for parts unknown—though more than one mentions the rocky orb up above. Michael Smolij's father is one of the last to vanish; once he's gone, Michael's musician mother plays "Norwegian Wood" on her violin, then takes two jobs to make ends meet. Michael, like all the boys in the neighborhood, has to grow up fast, working at the mall while taking community college courses. When Michael's mother remarries and moves away, leaving him the family house, Michael lands a job as a writer at a local radio station and starts dating a single mother with a five-year-old son, as if in an attempt to singlehandedly forge a new family for himself. The process of settling down, however, awakens a strange restlessness in him. Magic serves more as an emotional undercurrent than a mystery in this odd novel, part fable and part gritty realist chronicle. As Bakopoulos writes in an author's note, the book is a kind of elegy for his father's generation of downtrodden working-class men, but their disappointments are tempered by the modest hopes and ambitions of their sons in this gentle and moving tale. Agent, Amy Williams. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 02/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
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