The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac
by Kris D'Agostino
In the spirit of Nick Hornby and Tom Perrotta comes a smart, funny debut from novelist Kris D’Agostino about a disillusioned young man whose fledgling leap from post-adolescence to adulthood lands him back in an already overburdened family nest. In The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac (On Sale: March 20th, 2012) D’Agostino introduces his readers to Calvin, a twenty-four year-old film school dropout living at home again and working at a preschool for autistic kids. Being a teaching assistant certainly isn’t his dream job. And life at home isn’t peachy either: his insufferable go-getter older brother is also living there, as is his seventeen year old sister, who has just confided to Cal that she’s pregnant --- and plans to keep the baby.
Meanwhile, Calvin’s father, a career pilot, is temporarily grounded due to cancer and is now obsessed with his mortality. As if that weren’t enough family drama to give someone an ulcer, Calvin’s ever-stalwart mother is crumbling under the pressure of mounting bills and the imminent loss of their Sleepy Hollow, NY home.
It’s difficult enough trying to figure out the next step in life but when your own family throws endless obstacles in your path, how are you expected to move forward? The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac is not only buoyantly fun but often very, very funny. With advance praise from authors such as Charles Yu (“Highly entertaining and surprisingly moving”), David Gates (“A sharp and poignant sketch of a generation searching for self-definition in a new century”) and Brock Clarke (“He's clearly someone we should be listening to, someone whose fiction we'll be reading for years to come”), this engrossing contemporary tale of a loopy (but loving!) family and Calvin Moretti --- a marvelously oddball antihero who really wants to do the right thing --- will certainly charm your heart.
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"Wickedly funny and as often beautiful as it is meandering, this debut novel reads much like Calvin’s life: bursts of activity followed by long periods of idleness and deep thought."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
"D'Agostino's fiction debut winningly describes the millennial generation exploring the borders of love and responsibility."
"D’Agostino’s tragicomic first novel is an insatiably readable tale of a family held together with duct tape and string . . . A memorable debut by a writer who bears watching."
"[A] sometimes amusing, sometimes heartbreaking debut coming-of-age story… D'Agostino's style will appeal to Michael Chabon fans and readers who enjoy novels about dysfunctional but lovable families."
"The dialogue is tremendously entertaining . . . and Cal is bizarre and immature enough that it's fun to love hating him."
Bookfoolery and Babble
"A wry and sharply observed portrait, a coming-of-age story turned inside out. D'Agostino perfectly captures the way a family talks to itself, and in the process, makes us care deeply about these people. Highly entertaining and surprisingly moving."
Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
"In his hilarious and heartbreaking novel, The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac, D'Agostino has given us a sharp and poignant sketch of a generation searching for self-definition in a new century."
David Gates, author of Jernigan and Preston Falls
"The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac is a singularly funny, bitter, bold book about what it's like to resemble people you want badly to be better than. This is a remarkable book about a remarkable family with disturbingly familiar problems. And one of the most remarkable things about it is that it's only Kris D'Agostino's first novel. He's clearly someone we should be listening to, someone whose fiction we'll be reading for years to come."
Brock Clarke, author of Exley and An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England
"The main character in Kris D'Agostino's smart debut novel, The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac, may be a confused and self-centered college dropout who smokes too much pot and wanders whiningly through his twenties, but as he finds himself in the middle of a family in crisis, he struggles, sometimes painfully, to become the responsible adult he thinks he should be. Don't mistake this for a typical slacker story; you'll be unbelievably touched by this family as they deal with illness and depression and teen pregnancy and financial difficulties, and D'Agostino's deft narrative will have you rooting for them all. I loved this book and can't wait to see what comes next from this talented voice. It's books like these, small treasures that come seemingly out of nowhere, that make me love what I do."
Christine Onorati, WORD, Brooklyn, NY
"The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac is an ambitious book. When you start your novel with, “I work with retards”, you set yourself up with the challenge to make certain that the caliber of writing is good enough to avoid relegating your first book to a 19- & 20-year-old audience that enjoys Seth Rogan films. That opener created two possible paths for me, DA was either trying too hard to appear cutting edge and controversial, or as it happened, to convey exactly what a 24 year old’s inner narration would sound like. There are a number of forces at work in The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac that resonate with me as I sneak up on my late thirties. The moment when you realize that your relationships with your parents are starting to reverse. The moment when you have to consciously start to direct your life, and realize that by either choices or circumstance, you have actual responsibilities. Calvin Moretti doesn’t quite reach a state of acceptance, but certainly starts and ends at a place that all of us will recognize --- one where the idleness and self-centered existence of youth slowly begins to burn off, leaving the prospect that we actually will have considerably more say in the type of person we become than we initially thought."
Michael Link, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH
"The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac took me completely by surprise. Our protagonist may be lazy, but he's funny, and he loves his family, endearing him to the reader. Quirky and smart without being smarmy; the true heart of this story lies in the twisted knot of love commonly referred to as ‘family.’"
Jessilynn Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI
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