Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ten best coming-of-age books you've probably never read

Camille DeAngelis is the author of Immaculate Heart, Bones & All, Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker, and Mary Modern, as well as a first-edition guidebook, Moon Ireland. She is a graduate of New York University (B.A. in Fine Arts, minor in Irish Studies, 2002) and the National University of Ireland, Galway (M.A. in Writing, 2005).

When her novel Bones & All was released, DeAngelis shared her ten "favorite coming-of-age novels that you probably haven't read" with Publishers Weekly. One title on the list:
The Dark by John McGahern

Like much of the best Irish literature, this novel is beautifully bleak. A young man is desperate to study his way out of his dead-end rural upbringing, and while his widower father (whom the son thinks of not as “Dad,” but by their surname, Mahoney) seems to support the boy's ambitions, his manipulations leave the protagonist entirely confused as to whether he wants to leave forever or stay forever. While some critics have taken McGahern's point to be that there is no escaping one's upbringing or culture, I take this novel as a cautionary tale: if we cling to what is safe and familiar, we will wither into the sort of people we used to loathe.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Bones & All.

--Marshal Zeringue