The Gift -- A Novel
"The Gift--A Novel" isn't the sort of book I usually go for. In the first place, it is short, only 153 pages. I usually read longer books either in the form of historical fiction or serial works. I picked this one up on the bargain counter at B&N -- can't resist the bargain counter.
It takes place in 1952 during the Korean War. It is set in Manhattan -- an Irish neighborhood that is neither properous nor colorful. It is Christmas and the main character, Peter, a seventeen year old sailor home on leave is facing a very dismal holiday. His girlfriend has written him a "dear John" letter which he intends to talk to her about; his father is sullen and introspective, nothing new there; his mother is struggling with too many children and not enough money; and he is facing being shipped off to Korea. All of this is punctuated by the fact that Peter feels that he doesn't know his father at all and he isn't sure if his father really loves him.
The whole book takes place over just a few days but it is a few days filled with loss, discovery, "coming of age" and a gift. You will have to read the book to see what the gift is because I won't tell.
I would recommend this book.