The Boy Who Went Away: A Novel
Date: September 2015
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes
Winner of the American Academy’s Rome Prize for fiction, The Boy Who Went Away is Eli Gottlieb’s tender, harrowing coming-of-age novel.
For Denny Graubert, the chaotic summer of 1967—when the screams of napalm bombs on the nightly news drowned the cheers of the All-Star game—brings the painful realization that childhood has passed. While engaging in his favorite domestic spying game, Denny unwittingly discovers the desperate measures his mother will take to save his autistic older brother, Fad, who is lost in the diagnostic Dark Ages of Austism. At the heart of this novel is not only the story of Denny’s coltish entrance to adolescence, but also that of his relationship with Fad, which will be forever changed during the course of that summer. The Boy Who Went Away is the cruelly antic, heartrending story of two childhoods that would, by fall’s arrival, be irretrievably lost.
“Gottlieb records the utterly confounding and inevitable plunge into adulthood with bold clarity. He depicts the spoken and unspoken language of cruelty and love in a family with confidence and poetry. But he is at his very best in the freshness of his imagery, creating a world so vivid and memorable the reader finds all five senses delightfully engaged in experiencing it.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)