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Cities Of Men

Cities Of Men

In 1987, twelve-year-old Cooper Balsam's mother, Arden, disappears without a trace. Cooper's father, Percy, a Vietnam veteran struggling with PTSD, doesn't seem too concerned. "This isn't the first time. She's done it before." As days pass, Cooper begins to act out and withdraw from the world, and... more

Product Details

  • ISBN 9781683366669
  • Imprint Turner Publishing
  • Category Fiction

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Overview

In 1987, twelve-year-old Cooper Balsam's mother, Arden, disappears without a trace. Cooper's father, Percy, a Vietnam veteran struggling with PTSD, doesn't seem too concerned. "This isn't the first time. She's done it before." As days pass, Cooper begins to act out and withdraw from the world, and his growing animosity toward his father's ambivalence begins to escalate even as Percy and Cooper begin to actively search for the woman in their lives. From the hills of Southern California, to the deserts of Arizona, and down to the beaches of Mexico, the father and son will look for someone who may not want to be found for reasons they don't yet understand.

Reviews

Cooper Balsam, the 12-year-old narrator of Jensen’s uneven debut, has a serious family problem. One day late in January 1987, his mother, Arden, disappears from their home in San Diego, Calif., not for the first time, and leaves him alone with his father, Percy, and lots of self-doubt. Percy, a taciturn Vietnam vet subject to terrifying flashbacks to the war, can’t offer Cooper much reassurance. A middling student, Cooper lets a school bully, who can be either a friend or an enemy, lead him into increasingly dangerous vandalism. Cooper’s memories of his mother combine with other sources—extracts from Arden’s diary, phone talks with his maternal grandmother, and a rude encounter with a jilted woman friend of Arden’s—to form an incomplete picture of the woman. Tips prompt Percy and Cooper to make road trips to Arizona and Mexico in search of the elusive Arden. Jensen memorably portrays Cooper as the boy copes as best he can with life’s vicissitudes, but poorly developed secondary characters detract from the novel’s impact. (May) Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Release date: 05/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

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