Austin Ratner, author of In the Land of the Living, on tour August/September 2013

Posted By on June 24, 2013

In the Land of the LivingAbout In the Land of the Living

  • Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (March 12, 2013)

“A spiky tale of family…The characters are compelling, and the bonds between these brothers and fathers and sons are convincing and raw.” — Publishers Weekly 

The Auberons are a lovably neurotic, infernally intelligent family who love and hate each other and themselves in equal measure.  Driven both by grief at his young mother’s death and war with his distant, abusive immigrant father, patriarch Isidore almost attains the life of his dreams: he works his way through Harvard and then medical school; he marries a beautiful and even-keeled girl; in his father-in-law, he finds the father he always wanted; and he becomes a father himself.  He has talent, but he also has rage, and happiness is not meant to be his for very long. 

Isidore’s sons, Leo and Mack, haunted by the mythic, epic proportions of their father’s heroics and the tragic events that marked their early lives, have alternately relied upon and disappointed one another since the day Mack was born.  For Leo, who is angry at the world but angrier at himself, the burden of the past shapes his future: sexual awakening, first love, and restless attempts to live up to his father’s ideals.  Just when Leo reaches a crossroads between potential self-destruction and new freedom, Mack invites him on a road trip from Los Angeles to Cleveland. As the brothers make their way east, and towards understanding, their battles and reconciliations illuminate the power of family to both destroy and empower-and the price and rewards of independence.  Part family saga, part coming-of-age story, In the Land of the Living is a kinetic, fresh, bawdy yet earnest shot to the heart of a novel about coping with death, and figuring out how and why to live.

“[Leo Auberon] has the essential elements of a great Salinger-esque hero—bright, precocious, haunted by family.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Ratner casts Auberon’s struggle in mythic terms, mixing Isaac Babel with Chaucerian adventure as he makes his way into the gentrified world of American success.”—Paul Wilner, San Francisco Chronicle

“In Ratner’s novel, mythology is often a compelling but shackling inheritance…Part rumination, part fairy tale, and part road narrative, Ratner’s book paints a picture of the terrible weight of history, self-created or otherwise, that presses down on future generations…Ratner challenges his characters to rise to the occasion. Despite a stacked deck, the glimpses stolen are worth the read.” —James Orbesen, Booklist

“Highly impressionistic. In its attention to consciousness above plot, structure and character, the novel has a late-modernist feel.”—Anne Trubek, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Accomplished and moving…In the Land of the Living pulses with fury and grief…This novel is a study of bereavement and anger and of the complex, shifting seam between them…Between these vivid frenzies are flashbacks that introduce a tender, vulnerable voice. In these, Ratner captures 3-year-old Leo with uncanny precision, and his childhood sorrow is convincing and devastating…Sad and clever, resonant with loss and grief.”—Francesca Segal, Jewish Daily Forward

004a960d5f550ad8976fe3.L._V386371163_SX200_About Austin Ratner

Austin Ratner’s first novel, The Jump Artist, was the 2011 winner of the Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and has been honored with the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize in Fiction. He attended the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Before turning his focus to writing he received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and he is co-author of the textbook Concepts in Medical Physiology. He is Clinical Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine. He grew up in Cleveland, OH, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and two sons.


Austin Ratner’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, August 12th:  BookChickDi

Tuesday, August 13th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, August 14th:  The Five Borough Book Review

Thursday, August 15th:  Between the Covers

Friday, August 16th:  A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, August 19th:  The Best Books Ever

Wednesday, August 21st:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, August 22nd:  Bibliophiliac

Monday, August 26th:  Must. Read. Faster

Wednesday, August 28th:  The Feminist Texican (Reads)

Tuesday, September 3rd:  Books in the City

Thursday, September 5th:  Book-alicious Mama

Monday, September 9th:  Sarah’s Book Shelves


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