In part, an indictment of how American society shapes and misshapes its children, Boys also celebrates the creativity and wonder that are a part of adolescence.
"Spare, simple stories that accrue winningly, reminding us of the
Machiavellian complexities of childhood, and its occasional quiet victories."
George Saunders, author of CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and
"David Lloyd's translucent prose reveals some of the darkest secrets of
childhood. Boys is a wise and deeply satisfying book."
David Huddle, author of The Story of a Million Years and La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl
"Boys is a brilliant evocation of the rites of passage for adolescents. In
quiet, understated prose, David Lloyd details the small but powerful moments
in a boy's life. . . . When you finish the book, you can only wonder how any
boy in America survives to manhood."
Michael C. White, author of A Brother's Blood
"David Lloyd summons clear-eyed, hard-hitting moments of the age where
childhood is left behind and new rules are sought, where boys may be fierce
in loyalty or betrayal, show tenderness ormore oftenno mercy. . . .. These
boys linger, sometimes haunt, keeping their secrets as real boys
Harriet Richards, author of The Lavender Child and Waiting for the Piano Tuner to Die
"Lloyd captures the simultaneously singular and universal conflicts in the lives of adolescent boys in a collection of stories set in upstate New York in 1966. In spare, direct prose, Lloyd depicts scenes that frequently skirt the edge of danger, both social and physical. In "No Boundaries," a smaller boy must face an athletic older rival in a seemingly innocent game of dodge ball ("I had become one of those flies you can't swat no matter how fast you swing your hand"). "Spider" follows a similar thread, pitting a star high school wrestler against a talented but lackadaisical teammate in a practice match that turns violent. In "Shortcut," "Touch" and "Stain," Lloyd economically but poignantly explores the ramifications of a class bully's behavior for a teacher, the victim and the vice principal. Lloyd lightens up--"for a bit, anyway--"in "As Always, Jason," in which a boy passes informational notes to his classmates ("Actaeon was torn to pieces by his own dogs"; "The Manx cat has no tail") for his own private reasons. Lloyd's novella, "Boys Only," tracks 13-year-old Chris as he tries to come to grips with his first love, the shifting dynamic of the three-boy gang he belongs to and the changes in his teenage sister as she begins dating. The novella, which lacks the stories' sharp, close focus on a single situation, is less successful, as Lloyd doesn't always sufficiently connect the narrative dots. But these quiet, sometimes chilling stories remind us of childhood's unique travails and prove Lloyd to be a writer with unique insight into that world."
"The first time I saw someone get kicked in the face was by the steps leading to the front doors of my school," says 13-year-old Chris, narrator of the novella Boys Only, which appears, along with 12 additional stories, in this fiction collection that bears witness to the brutalities and discoveries of adolescence. Set in 1960s upstate New York, the novella follows Chris through the unsettling limbo of early adolescence, in which he constructs "boys-only" tree houses yet has also discovered porn as well as a maturing view of his own family. The 12 stories that make up "On Monday" focus on different characters during a 24-hour period at a high school. Lloyd often writes with a teen's precise detachment, and his shifting perspectives, including some adult viewpoints, reexamine traditional school roles of bully, victim, eccentric, jock, and "the slow one." Sharply observed, these are stories filled with scenes both mundane and shocking that capture those strange, private moments of shame, fear, pride, and creativitymoments that become the secrets we rarely tell. A memorable debut."
The narrator of the novella, Boys, is a thirteen-year-old Chris, a member of
a small gang that includes his two friends, Frank and Joey. The novella
poignantly charts Chris's involvement with a girl named Lisa, his
fascination with a pornographic magazine, the building of a "boys only" tree
house, his traumatized relationships with Frank and Joey, and the
disappearance of his sister Jenny.
The twelve stories in On Monday proceed chronologically from a Monday to a
Tuesday morning. Each story highlights a different character's experiences
with parents, friends, teachers, the expectations of others and the
expectations of a culture and an era. Characters and settings present in one
story reappear in other stories, building upon and heightening the
experiences of all of them.
David Lloyd is director of the Creative Writing Program at Le Moyne College.
He is the winner of the Maryland Poetry Review 2002 chapbook contest as well
as the cowinner of the Poetry Society of America's year 2000 Robert H.
Winner Memorial Award.
5 x 71/2, 192 pages