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Boys and Girls Together [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

William Goldman

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31. Juli 2001
William Goldman is famous for his Academy Award-winning screenplays, infamous for the thriller that did for dentists what Psycho did for showers, beloved for his hilarious "hot fairy-tale," and notorious for his candid behind-the-scenes Hollywood chronicles. But long before Butch and Sundance, Buttercup, and the Tinsel-Town tell-alls, he made his mark as one of the great popular novelists of the twentieth century. Now his sweeping, classic tale of a generation's tumultuous coming-of-age is at last back in print.


Aaron, Walt, Jenny, Branch, and Rudy. They are children of America's post-war generation, as different from one another as anyone can be. Yet they are bound together by the traumas of their pasts, the desperate desire to capture their dreams and satisfy their passions, the stirring pleasures of sexual awakening--and the twists of fate that will inextricably link their lives in the turbulent world of 1960s New York City.


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"A SUPERB, BRILLIANT EVOCATION . . . Satisfying in its length, rich in its complication, intriguing in its characters, and above all, revealing of its time and place."
--Los Angeles Times

"[GOLDMAN] SUCCEEDS WHERE MOST NOVELISTS SINCE THOMAS WOLFE HAVE FAILED. He carves a huge piece out of the heart of New York, and it has life, power, beauty and truth."
--San Francisco Chronicle

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Aaron would not come out.

Nestled inside his mother, blind and wrinkled and warm, he defied the doctors. Charlotte's screams skimmed along the hospital corridors, but Aaron, lodged at his peculiar angle, was mindless of them. Charlotte vomited and shrieked and wanted to die. As that possibility became less and less remote, the doctors hurriedly decided to operate and, deftly cutting through the wall of Charlotte's abdomen, they slit the uterus and reached inside.

Pink and white like a candy stick, Aaron entered the world.

It seemed to be a great place to visit. His father could not have been gladder to see him. Henry Firestone, universally known as Hank, was a big man, confident, with a quick smile and a loud, rough voice. Aaron never forgot that voice; years later he would still spin suddenly around—on the street, in a restaurant, a theater lobby—whenever he heard a voice remotely similar.

Hank was a lawyer, for Simmons and Sloane, the Wall Street firm, and when he was thirty-one Mr. Sloane himself made Hank a full partner, Mr. Simmons being bed-ridden that day with gout, a disease to which he noisily succumbed some months later. The week he became a partner, Hank was sent to Roanoke, Virginia, for a three-day business trip.

He stayed two weeks and came back married.

Her name was Charlotte Crowell, of the Roanoke Crowells, or what once had been the Roanoke Crowells, the family having been comfortably poor since shortly before the turn of the century. Charlotte was tiny, barely five feet tall, with a sweet face and a voice as soft as her husband's was harsh. Her hair was black and she wore it long and straight, down her back; even when it began turning cruelly white (she was not yet thirty) she wore it that way.

Hank and Charlotte lived in New York for a few months but then, the summer after they were married, they moved to a large white colonial on Library Place, a gently curving tree-lined street in the best section of Princeton, New Jersey. Mr. Sloane himself lived in Princeton, on Battle Road, of course, and when he saw that the house on Library Place was up for sale he mentioned it casually to Hank, who immediately took Charlotte for a look-see. Charlotte loved it—it reminded her so of Roanoke—so Hank bought it for her. He couldn't afford it but he bought it anyway, partially because Charlotte loved it and partially because she was pregnant and everybody told them New York was no place to bring up children. They moved into the house the week after Deborah was born, all waxy and red, the only time she was ever unattractive. The wax soon washed away, the red softened into pink, and she became a beautiful baby, fat, spoiled and sassy. Charlotte adored her and Hank liked her well enough—he cooed at her and carried her around on his big shoulders and gently poked her soft flesh till she giggled—Hank liked her fine, but he was waiting for his son.

The wait took over two years. Hank worked hard at the office, making more money than he ever had before in spite of the depression, and Charlotte hired a full-time maid and then a gardener to tend the lawn on summer mornings. They entertained a good deal and they entertained well; Charlotte had the gift. Hank gave up tennis for golf, which bored him, but it was better for business. A lot of things bored Hank until the evening Aaron emerged.

Before the boy was a month old his room was crammed with toys and dolls and music boxes, and a menagerie of stuffed animals pyramided against the foot of his canopied bed. Almost every afternoon Hank journeyed north to F. A. O. Schwarz's for more and more presents, and when Charlotte warned he was in danger of buying out the store he only nodded happily and told her she had guessed exactly his last remaining ambition. Nights Hank spent in the boy's room, rocking him to sleep, singing soft lullabies in his big rough voice. Whenever the boy was sick—and he was sick a good deal—Hank would go to work late and return early, calling in constantly from New York, always asking the same question: "Aaron? How is Aaron? How is my son?"

Hank loved Aaron; Charlotte loved Deborah. There were no troubles on Library Place.

For Aaron's third birthday Hank bought him a jungle gym. They set it up together, the two of them, in the back yard. It was a marvelous structure, more than six feet high, and Hank used to take Aaron and lift him, setting him on the very top rung. "Hold tight now," Hank would say. "Hold tight and stay up there all by yourself." So Aaron would hold tight, sitting on the top rung, his tiny fists gripping the bars for balance. Hank would back away from him then, calling out "Scared?" and Aaron would yell "No, no," even though he was.

One Saturday afternoon the maid was out and Charlotte was watching Deborah perform at ballet class, so Hank and Aaron played cops and robbers for a while, shooting each other, falling, suddenly up again, running pell-mell across the lawn. After that it was time to play on the jungle gym. Hank lifted Aaron, carried him on his big shoulders, carefully placed him on the very top rung. Hank started backing away. "Hold tight now," he said. Aaron held tight. "Are you scared?" he said. "No," Aaron cried; "no." Hank stood a distance from the jungle gym and smiled his quick smile. Then, thoughtlessly, he paled, falling to his knees. He gasped for a moment, then slipped to the grass. Gasping louder, he crawled forward, crawled toward the jungle gym, saying, "Aaron. Aaron." He raised one big arm, then dropped it. Reaching for his son, he died, sprawled full length, white on the green lawn.

Aaron giggled. "That was good, Daddy," he said. He did not know the name of the game, but whatever it was it was obviously still on—his father, after all, had not answered—so he giggled again and stared down at the dead man. It was a fine summer day, windy and warm, and Aaron stared up at the clouds a moment, watching them skid across the sky. Grabbing on to the bars with all his strength, he looked down again—it frightened him to look down, it was so far—but his father still had not moved. "That's good, Daddy," Aaron said. He giggled once more, lifting his head, staring at the clouds. His fists were beginning to get sore from holding the bars, but he did not dare loosen his grip. "Down, Daddy," Aaron said, looking up. "I wanna come down." The game was still on; his father did not move. Aaron gazed at the clouds and started to sing. "How sweet to be a cloud floating in the blue. It makes you very proud to be a little cloud." It was a song from Winnie the Pooh—Aaron knew all the songs from Winnie the Pooh—and Pooh sang it when he was floating up after the honey on the tail of the balloon. But he never got the honey because the bees found him out and Pooh fell all the way down. Pooh fell. Aaron's hands ached terribly. "Daddy," he said louder. "Take me down, Daddy. Please take me down."

His father made no move to do so.

"Daddy," Aaron said, frightened now. "I'll drink my milk I will I will I promise but take me down." He hated to cry—his father never cried—but suddenly he was crying, the tears stinging his eyes. "Take me down, Daddy." He began to shake and his hands were numb and the tears would not stop. "Take me down dah-dee." His chest burned and the clouds were monsters diving at him so he closed his eyes but he thought he might fall so he opened them, alternating his stare, up to the diving monsters, down to the still figure, up and down, up and down. Aaron began to scream. "Dah-dee dah-dee dah-dee take me down dah-dee take me down take me down...

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  45 Rezensionen
39 von 40 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen I'll Never Forget the First Line 19. Oktober 2005
Von Jo Singel - Veröffentlicht auf
Sometime in the 1960's I discovered Boys & Girls Together. I don't recall how I got my first copy. It certainly wasn't handed to me by Sister Immaculata at Archbishop Prendergast high school. Nor did my Italian father suggest that I read it. However the book made its way into my hands and the words found the path to my curious brain - I am eternally grateful. The characters and the stories embedded themselves into my psyche and made me hungrier than ever to explore new worlds beyond the tight borders of home,school and family. I was never the same again. Recently I bought myself a new copy. I hadn't read it in years and wondered if the old magic was still there. I opened the book and read the first line. It was quite an experience. I was transported back "in time" and across many decades when a new door had opened for me. Thank you William Goldman. I was not disappointed.
16 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A brilliant book. 8. Januar 1999
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
This being the first William Goldman book I read, I also believe it to be the best. Never before have read a book that had such detailed, quirky, and unique characters. There is a dedication to each character I've never again seen paralelled that makes the story an experience one could never forget. Search your local libraries and book stores for this book. It's worth it.
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen He's done it again! 5. Oktober 2006
Von S. Jones - Veröffentlicht auf
I hated for this book to ever end! The characters were all so interesting yet so sad. It isn't a feel good book by any means! I felt very anxious through the majority of the book, which may not be a good thing since it is close to 800 pages, but it so well written! It is one of William Goldman's best books! I read alot of books and it is rare to find a really good book these days!! Thank Goodness I've found William Goldman! He seldom lets me down!
11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Tripping the Light Fantastic 13. Juli 2007
Von Edward Aycock - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
If Philip Roth, Harold Robbins, Jacqueline Susann, Rona Jaffe and Mary McCarthy all met for dinner and collaborated on a story to pass the time before the main course, (and Edgar Allan Poe rushed in at the end to add to the climax) the result would have been something similar to this novel which is actually from the talented mind of one man: William Goldman. I'm surprised I'd gone so long without ever having heard of this novel, but then I think Goldman's work as a screenwriter and more popular works like "The Princess Bride" have overshadowed this earlier work.

Despite its seemingly unwieldy length and dense word count, "Boys and Girls Together" is an unforgettable reading experience that moves quickly. I thought I'd be with this book for most of the summer, and ended up getting through it in less than two weeks. Goldman is so convincing that every character comes alive. You'll think you'll hate somebody, but then we learn more about them and we see what they're thinking and feeling. The result is a fantastic dissections of mid-twentieth century America.

This isn't to say the book doesn't also get mired in the very mindset it's skewering. The novel is notable in that it features gay characters as protagonists but also assigns their conditions to pop-psychology conventions then popular i.e., smothering mother or fatherless homes. Being published only a year after "The Feminine Mystique" where homosexuality was described as a "murky smog" covering America, the inclusion of gay characters is both progressive and negative. But to be fair, not many of the other characters fare much better, trapped as they are under their own idiosyncracies like ditzy Jenny and clueless Walt.

The book builds to a climax that is inevitable, but the execution is a bit heavy-handed as the finale takes on the aforementioned Poe-like quality. I'll take it though, as by then, I'd been with the characters for nearly 700 pages and I wasn't going to let that mar a great reading experience; you'll never look at a fire escape the same way again.
18 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Reason I'm a Writer Today 10. November 2001
Von Susan Arnett - Veröffentlicht auf
I looked at it, pondered over it, it seemed to call my name. At fifteen years old, in that old Woolworth building in South Mississippi, about 1965, I put in it my hands and had to have it. I knew I had to write when I read that "Aaron's eyes burned" because he read so much. I was a girl, he was a boy, a homosexual boy, but I understood him. I knew him. I also decided to become a writer of books someday, and now I am. Thank you Mr. Goldman for the very best book I've ever read. I'm buying copies for the sensitive people I love. Thank God it's in print again.
Susan Arnett
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