Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Freebie: Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach

Congratulations to Brenda Vaccarello, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, Ballistics by D. W. Wilson.

This week's book giveaway is Life Among Giants, the novel by Bill Roorbach which is being released in a gorgeous new paperback edition by the good folks at Algonquin Books.  Richard Russo praised the book by saying, "A bravura performance.  It's been a long time since a writer's written so brilliantly about subjects as varied as pro football, dance, food, and murder in the same book.  My God, it was fun."

So what do you get inside these 331 pages?  A plot bursting with life.  Take a look:
At seventeen, David "Lizard" Hochmeyer is nearly seven feet tall, a star quarterback, and Princeton-bound.  His future seems all but assured until his parents are mysteriously murdered, leaving Lizard and his older sister, Kate, adrift and alone.  Sylphide, the world's greatest ballerina, lives across the pond from their Connecticut home, in a mansion the size of a museum, and it turns out that her rock star husband's own disasters have intersected with Lizard's--and Kate's--in the most intimate and surprising ways.  Over the decades that follow, Lizard and Kate are obsessed with uncovering the motives behind the deaths, returning time and again to their father's missing briefcase, his shady business dealings and shaky finances, and to Sylphide, who has threaded her way into Lizard's and Kate's lives much more deeply than either had ever realized.  From the football fields of Princeton to a stint with the NFL, from elaborate dances at the mansion to the seductions lying in wait for Lizard, and ultimately to the upscale restaurant he opens in his hometown, it only takes Lizard a lifetime to piece it all together.  A wildly entertaining novel of murder, seduction, and revenge--rich in incident, in expansiveness of character, and in lavishness of setting--it's a Gatsby-esque adventure, a larger-than-life quest for answers that reveals how sometimes the greatest mystery lies in knowing one's own heart.
Click here to read the opening lines, which I featured in an earlier edition of Front Porch Books at the blog.  Here's more praise for Life Among Giants, this time from The New York Times Book Review: "An enchanting, darkly mysterious ballerina.  A dead rock star.  An unsolved double homicide, decades old.  A father felled by a shadowy past.  An older sister as beautiful as she is mad.  A gay vegetarian chef covered in tattoos.  His transvestite lover.  Secret passageways, nighttime trysts, affairs, embezzling, illicit recordings—all of it revolving around one 6-foot-8, humble, sincere, Ivy League-educated orphaned professional football player.  Really, what more could you want?  As you might guess from its title if not from the list above, Bill Roorbach’s second novel, Life Among Giants, is a ­larger-than-life production.  Yet all of its wild characters feel genuine, their aches and flaws and desires wholly organic; and the plot they’re tangled in moves forward at a breakneck pace.  It’s a dizzy romp.  There’s murder and intrigue and sex and terror, and Roorbach is generous with it all."

If you'd like a chance at winning Life Among Giants, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Aug. 8, at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Aug. 9.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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