All the Dead Yale Men

Craig Nova. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-58243-828-3
Nova’s career-defining 1982 novel The Good Son explored the relationship between a domineering, social-climbing father, Pop Mackinnon, and his loyal but restless son Chip, a World War II veteran who returns home to an arranged marriage. This equally impressive sequel follows Chip’s son Frank, now happily married and a Boston prosecutor, after his father’s death by stroke unleashes long-buried family secrets and resentments–the latter over Chip’s sale of a parcel of land earmarked for Frank’s inheritance. Meanwhile, Frank’s daughter, Pia, thankfully dumps shifty boyfriend Aurlon for more upstanding fellow classmate Robert; but trouble surfaces in the form of shadowy gangster Stas, who tries to blackmail Frank into helping him cover up his stolen car-parts operation, and in the reappearance of Frank’s old love, Pauline. Frank’s first-person narration takes its time developing characterization and meticulously painting the memories of a son who is at odds with his father, yet who fondly recalls their shared history—including a death-defying encounter with a wild bear that demonstrates Chip’s fearlessness. Nova’s scenic evocation of Boston is spot-on, as is his emotional detailing of the fragile intricacies of family. Agent: Paul Fedorko, N.S. Bienstock Inc.(Jun.)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-61902-219-5
Paperback - 337 pages - 978-1-61902-321-5
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