Saturday, February 09, 2008

Pg. 69: Edward Hardy's "Keeper and Kid"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Edward Hardy's Keeper and Kid.

About the book, from the publisher's website:

Eight years ago, James Keeper fell in love with his upstairs neighbor in Boston, a sassy pastry chef with gray eyes and a fierce attitude. They got married, found a dog, and shopped for cilantro. But conflicting schedules and a real estate deal gone bad took its toll on the twenty-somethings in love. One divorce later, the hand-me-down chairs were separated, the potato masher custody settled, and Keeper moved to Providence to work with his best friend selling antiques at a quirky shop called Love and Death.

A new job, a new love, and a new life now in place, Keeper is in a comfortable situation. Business is steady, Leah (the new love) is intriguing and passionate, and Keeper’s friends always turn up for Sunday evening Card Night.

But one phone call from his former mother-in-law changes everything. And so days later, Keeper comes away with a son he never knew he had, and life all of a sudden takes on a new meaning.

Leo, the precocious three-year-old who sports Keeper’s square chin, is more than a handful -- he eats only round foods, refuses to bathe, thinks he’s a bear, and refers to Leah as “that man.” For a guy who never thought he’d be a parent, Keeper is thrown headfirst into fatherhood -- and has no idea what to do. As Keeper and Leo adjust to the shock of each other and their suddenly very different lives, Keeper begins to let the people in his life in, in turns strange and heartwarming, funny and painful. But some, like Leah, aren’t so eager for change.

In this humorous and poignant novel, Edward Hardy explores the depths of modern love, parenthood, and compromise. Keeper and Kid is the story of how a normal guy receives an unexpected gift and in turn must learn to ask more of others and himself. A coming-of-age story for the guy who thought he had already grown up, Keeper and Kid is a sharp and witty account of what we do for love.

Among the early praise for Keeper and Kid:
“Ed Hardy’s voice in Keeper and Kid grabs you and won’t let you go until the very last page. Full of local color, bittersweet characters and a story we can all relate to -- the day your past arrives on the doorstep of your present life.”
--Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle

“A fine fetching novel with a good heart. Ed Hardy’s hip aphoristic narrator has an awesome range of allusion and metaphor. Even in his most trying moments Keeper is nimble and affecting, a tribute to the author’s endless comic inventiveness.”
--Stewart O’Nan, author of Last Night At The Lobster

--Tucson Citizen

“Add me to the list. Ann Hood was right. I couldn’t put it down. It’s compelling and funny and moving. This would make a great reading group book, too.”
--Robin Kall, WHJJ’s “Reading With Robin”

Very funny...”
--Publishers Weekly

Keeper and Kid is a remarkable novel of secrets and surprises and the weight of personal history. Poignant and comic, Hardy nails life-with-small-child as no other contemporary fiction writer has. As Keeper struggles with life on a virtually different planet, Keeper and Kid becomes a deeply moving, page-turning examination of the necessities of friendship, and the stunning power of love.”
--Paul Cody, author of So Far Gone

Keeper and Kid
is a charming novel that appeals to readers who enjoy books about women’s lives that involve parenthood.”
--Pop Goes Fiction
Read an excerpt from Keeper and Kid, and learn more about the author and his work at Edward Hardy's website.

Hardy has taught creative writing at Cornell and Boston College and currently teaches nonfiction writing at Brown. His short stories have appeared in over twenty different magazines including: Ploughshares, GQ, Epoch, The New England Review, Witness, Prairie Schooner, Ascent, Boulevard, Yankee and The Quarterly, and his short fiction has been listed in The Best American Short Stories. Geyser Life, his first novel, enjoyed wide acclaim.

The Page 69 Test: Keeper and Kid.

--Marshal Zeringue