The Book Of Getting Even

Son of a rabbi, budding astronomer Gabriel Geismar is on his way from youth to manhood in the 1970s when he falls in love with the esteemed and beguiling Hundert family, different in every way from his own. Over the course of a decade-long drama unfolding in New Orleans, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and the Wisconsin countryside, Gabriel enters more and more passionately and intimately into the world of his elective clan, discovering at the inmost center that he alone must bear the full weight of their tragedies, past and present. Yet The Book of Getting Even is funny and robust, a novel rich in those fundamentals we go to great fiction for: the exploration of what is hidden, the sudden shocks, the feeling at last of life laid bare.

Praise & Reviews

Winner, 2nd Place, 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction

Finalist, 2009 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction

“It’s hard not to think of Philip Roth while reading Benjamin Taylor’s funny, literate The Book of Getting Even. It’s not just the impeccable portrait of Jewish-American life in 1970s America, or the comedy of sexual frustrations. It’s the sense that this book could mark the start of a great career… I found a kind of reverence in response to Taylor’s accomplished novel.”
— The Cleveland Plain Dealer 

“The voice of the outsider looking in has served many great novels well — among them, notably, The Great Gatsby and Brideshead Revisited. Benjamin Taylor’s The Book of Getting Even takes its place alongside its illustrious forebears; it is an intelligent, emotionally resonant novel whose first-person narrative is unafraid to shine a clear, unblinking light onto the tricky themes of sexuality, American class systems, Jewishness, and familial bonds. The Book is Getting Even is beautiful in its elegance and fearlessness, and is almost impossible to put down, from compelling beginning to poignantly surprising end.”
— Kate Christensen, winner of the PEN/Faulkner prize for The Great Man

“The Book of Getting Even is a humorous and moving story of a love affair between a young man and an entire family. Benjamin Taylor’s prose is beautiful and dense, but never impedes the plot or mitigates the liveliness of the characters. The novel is a mere 176 pages, but its impact is emotionally monumental.”
— Mark Jude Poirier, novelist and screenwriter of Smart People