Curves of Pursuit
In his first novel, Thomas Farber gives us an unusually honest look inside the heart of a man trying to understand the curves of pursuit in his own life. His ties, for example, to his older brother: as boys and on into adulthood, the two communicate best with a football, sending each other out for passes, cheering each other on with their private polylingual wordplay. The pattern that exists with the parents is another, a curve of pursuit marked always by the imminence and the memory of death. And so too with his marriage, where all that is between him and his wife is richly verbal, intricate, and in real jeopardy, and where their cats are the witnesses to the intensity of what binds them. Despite the narrator's feeling of loss, and despite his remorse, we begin to see with them perhaps certain connections which simply cannot be severed. That whatever else is also true, the bonds of love may persist.
Thomas Farber's first-person narrative is warm and oddly comforting. Usually, books about dissolving relationships are bitter and frightening, but in Farber there is gentleness and a search for understanding...[The narrator's] illusions and his hopes are so skillfully told that they become a part of our own dreams. Curves of Pursuit tells the story of relationships, the unraveling and the mending of them, in a unique way.
Like the book's themes, its structure is a continual surprise of perspective...a beautiful feeling of everything coming together in space and time--and yes even in a kind of love.
Farber's treatment of football as metaphor... is extraordinary...his mastery of the short story is seen in the vignette-like structure of this novel.
Farber seizes precisely upon the feeling of each moment. The sensibility of the narrator is exquisite.
An impressive work from a special, energetiic talent, presented with deceptive simplicity and delicate amusement.
It is surprising that such a short first-person narrative...can be as moving, absorbing, and complex as Farber's first novel...this deserves a wide audience.
...lifts the spirit with its profound understanding. Thomas Farber probes each idea with a wry illuminating intelligence, and as with a faceted stone, the light comes back from the depths clear, true, and sparkling. The jewels strung together form a shimmering, funny, bittersweet story.
A story of two brothers as moving as the metaphor for human relationships that provides the title: this reader feels himself a third brother.
A limber novel about character and love. In methods and focus it bears comparison to A Fan's Notes. It is fluid and wily.
It has a flavor all its own. I like Tom Farber's touch with siblingness, and also his touch with women...An engaging first novel.
Tension, in the work of Thomas Farber, is generated by an extreme economy of method and an almost luxurious depth of insight, the first tending toward the unequivocal, the second toward the tentative, and from this conflict arises a fiction like that of no one else I have ever read...[His] work has changed radically since his first book, and has grown more accomplished, more severe, more moving; the difference between Who Wrote the Book of Love?, with its kaleidoscope slivers of sharp understanding, and Curves of Pursuit...is one of a powerful emotional reckoning, and the resultant willingness of the writer to approach--or pursue, as the novel's title suggests--difficult things. Mr. Farber seems to work on each book as if he had all the time in the world. I believe that the effect this has had is of compacting the world into a book.
We watch the movements of these curves of pursuit with admiration...sometimes forgetting how brilliantly these scnees are being created forus by a writer whose first novel demonstrates an imaginative power and a confidence that makes us happily anticipate many more books in the future.
Reviews of the French translation (La Courbe du Chien)
Hemingway would surely have adored this...grand art.
Of rare quality.
An uncommon novel..which quickly exercises its power over the reader.
Seduces by its liberty of tone and mastery of writing.
What is possibly most fascinating is the cohesion of all the elements put in play.
Written with the consummate art of understatement.
Elegant and penetrating...an original and intelligent sensibility...The style is lithe, pure, and clear.
Written with an ingeniousness which excludes neither humor nor emotion.