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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for Mama's Boy
Book cover for Mama's BoyBook cover for Mama's Boy

In Rick DeMarinis' absurd and comic novel Mama's Boy, Gus Reppo's parents have everything figured out for their son, right down to the county where they hope he'll practice dentistry. And when they follow him to the air force base where he enlists—who else will make sure he's served adequate meals?—he realizes it's not going to be easy shaking off his kin, or their Mantovani obsession. After his mother introduces the possibility that his parents are not who they seem, Gus's life takes a turn for the weird.

Book cover for Mama's Boy
Book cover for Mama's BoyBook cover for Mama's Boy

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“Quick, lucid storytelling, and curt and cruel, yet rich language transforms what is a rather simple premise—a sheltered adolescent in the 1950s outgrowing his parents' cocoon and trying to find himself in the army—into a searing 286-page quest for sex, love and purpose.”

“Sardonic and absurdist in the mode of Albee and Shepard, a nuclear-age, X-rated Twain, and one of our best underappreciated writers, DeMarinis takes lunacy to new dimensions as he toys with archetypal tales of incest and warriors betrayed in this droll, furious, heartbreaking cold war saga of war's long shadow and love's torments.”

“I have always believed that Rick DeMarinis is one of the most talented and versatile writers of my generation, and in my opinion Mama's Boy is his best work yet. He finds humanity in the bizarre and barbaric, and page by page he shows how redemption can find us when we cannot find it ourselves. This is one of the best novels I've read in years.”

“DeMarinis is a contemporary avatar of that tradition in American short story writing that by way of Hawthorne, Melville, Faulkner, O'Connor, Welt, and Cheever, is essentially religious and, because rooted in the everyday, comic … his art, then, is comedy of a very high order.”

Rick DeMarinis

RICK DEMARINIS was the highly acclaimed author of ten novels, including Mama's Boy and The Year of the Zinc Penny, a New York Times Notable book, as well as six short story col­lections, including Apocalypse Then and Borrowed Hearts. In 1990, he received a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Each year, Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, awards a short story prize in his name. Rick passed away on June 12, 2019.