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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, The Sterns Are Listening by Jonathan Wells, is a raucous novel about family derangement, Boomer laments and youthful revolt, rock and roll, and the sacrifices we make for what we love.
The Sterns Are Listening
Seasoned New Yorkers, Benjamin and Dita Stern, have settled into stasis. Their two children are no longer at home, and their professional lives were never fully realized.
When Benjamin’s brash younger brother Spence, founder and CEO of the hearing aid company Belphonics, asks him to collaborate on a revolutionary new product line inspired by the brothers’ rock-and-roll youth at CBGB’s, it has the potential to salvage Benjamin and Dita’s tenuous financial position. However, they both know that getting involved in Spence’s schemes comes at a high price.
When their daughter, Alessandra, comes home that same day, and their seventeen year old son Giorgio, whom they haven’t seen him since sending him away for most of high school after a violent episode, appears unexpectedly, Benjamin and Dita must reckon with their parental choices. Giorgio takes the reins of his own story, and we learn not only that his name is not, in fact, Giorgio, but also the extent to which all the Sterns share some measure of responsibility for his plight.
A funny and deeply felt debut novel from poet and memoirist Jonathan Wells, The Sterns Are Listening explores a family on the verge of both collapse and regeneration. Brimming with affection for its troubled characters and the troubled city they call home, the novel traces a courageous path to the deeply uncomfortable heart of the matter, one that just might lead to redemption.
Jonathan Wells’ memoir The Skinny was published in 2021 by ZE Books. He has also published three
collections of poems: Debris (2021), The Man with Many Pens (2015), and Train Dance (2011). His poems
have been published or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, The New Republic, AGNI and the Bennington
Review. The Sterns Are Listening is his first work of fiction.
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