2020ok  Directory of FREE Online Books and FREE eBooks

Free eBooks > THE HA-HA


by Jannifer Dawson

Download Book
(Respecting the intellectual property of others is utmost important to us, we make every effort to make sure we only link to legitimate sites, such as those sites owned by authors and publishers. If you have any questions about these links, please contact us.)

link 1

About Book

Peel back the made-for-TV-movie premise of Dave King's The Ha-Ha and you'll find a shrewd, engrossing, and occasionally gritty first novel in the tradition of Jane Smiley. Howard is a brain-damaged Vietnam vet who can't speak or write, but who has managed to establish a reasonably good life in his small Midwestern hometown. In fact, Howard's chief limitation isn't his silence but his lingering romantic attachment to his high school girlfriend, Sylvia, now the drug-addicted single mother of a nine-year-old boy named Ryan (not Howard's child). Accustomed to Howard's devotion--and equally accustomed to rejecting his love, like a campfire she pees on again and again--Sylvia more or less dumps Ryan on him when she is forced to enter rehab. Yes, the handicapped vet must forge a relationship with the sullen fatherless boy. With material as Hallmark-tinged like this, it's only through vivid, honest, and far from syrupy characterization that King keeps sentimentality at bay. You can predict what happens when the gruff Howard begins to coach Little League (aw, shucks), but not his ferocious reaction to Sylvia's eventual betrayal. A skillful debut with several surprises. --Regina Marler

From Publishers Weekly
King offers a deeply genuine performance of this subtle yet affecting novel told from the perspective of Howard Kapostash, a wounded Vietnam veteran whose injury has left him unable to read, write or speak, but who is, as the card he's always reluctant to give people points out, "of normal intelligence." After Howard agrees to look after his ex-girlfriend's son, Ryan, while she is in rehab, Ryan's presence profoundly alters the lives of Howard and his three housemates. The vital element to the success of this recording is how Kinney's reading voice meshes with Howard's narrative one. Kinney does an excellent job with Howard's various moods, from the quiet joy of watching Ryan's Little League practice to the simmering and occasionally explosive frustration of not being able to communicate his thoughts. He also slides easily between the Texas drawl of one character and the slangy banter of a feckless pair of 20-somethings living under Howard's roof. The production includes some aptly employed musical accompaniment. Soft piano, for instance, tinkles in the background as Howard remembers the mine explosion that injured him, and a buoyant, guitar-driven theme recurs but avoids being cloying or overdone. The same can be said for the book itself, which—though loosely predictable—remains earnest and inspiring. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 15, 2004). (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker
King's first novel is told from the point of view of Howie Kapostash, a Vietnam vet who was left unable to speak or write as the result of an explosion. He mows the lawn at the local convent, and shares his ramshackle childhood home with lodgers. King has a gift for the kind of easy dialogue that feels like a game of catch, the very thing Howie can't participate in, and his details ring true—the sad house, the starchy nuns, Howie's smug sense of his wasted life. But it's a setup waiting for pathos, and when Howie's coke-addicted high-school girlfriend saddles him with her nine-year-old son the plot moves predictably (damaged vet cheering at school pageant; vet buying catcher's mitt) toward movie-ready redemption.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

From Bookmarks Magazine
King’s first novel could have overflowed into mawkishness, but it didn’t. Ha-Ha, which centers on the relationship between Ryan and Howard and the stripping away of their defenses, rings true to life without emotional manipulation. The writing is excellent, and King creates tender, complex characters on different paths to recovery. Howard, despite his disability, has an irresistible "voice"—he’s honest, cynical, but optimistic ("Deep down," he narrates, "I’m an optimist. It’s my most depressing characteristic.") Even the villain Sylvia acts in understandable ways. A few inconsistencies with Howard’s diction and the title’s overwrought metaphor (a "ha-ha" is a boundary wall concealed in a ditch) barely disrupt the narrative flow. Ha-Ha, The New York Times Book Review concludes, "establishes King as a writer of consequence."

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

From AudioFile
Both tough and sweet, this debut novel concerns a brain-damaged Vietnam vet who loves a coke-head single mother with whom he once had a drug-soaked affair. To this day, though he's clean and sober, he still can't say no to her. So when she's hauled off to rehab, he accepts care of her 9-year-old. Of course, what follows becomes a life-altering experience. Maybe he can barely speak, maybe he sound like an idiot, but he has no trouble articulately telling his story with, thank goodness, a sense of humor. The fine stage and screen actor Terry Kinney gives voice to our hero--a dull one unfortunately. Kinney merely recites the words, getting the phrasing right, but expressing few values and little energy. He comes to life only during the more dramatic dialogue. Y.R. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

From Booklist
King's compelling, compassionate debut revolves around Howie, who suffered a head injury in Vietnam and now can neither speak nor write. When Sylvia, an old girlfriend, asks Howie to care for Ryan, her nine-year-old biracial son, while she goes to a nearby detox center, Howie is initially overwhelmed by his new responsibilities but gradually falls into the role of father: making healthy breakfasts, listening to hip-hop, and signing Ryan up for a Little League team and even filling in as umpire. Howie and his three housemates proudly attend Ryan's end-of-the-year school program, and as the summer progresses, Howie dreads Sylvia's emergence from rehab--he can barely remember life before Ryan. Since his injury Howie has gradually withdrawn from all human contact except for the nuns at the convent where he mows the lawn and his stalwart group of housemates. Caring for Ryan has opened him up again to joy and sorrow, frustration and small accomplishments. The reader is drawn into Howie's world and roots for him with every first step he takes. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Frederick Busch, author of The Night Inspector
"The Ha-Ha is a merry, serious inquiry into how love is given and accepted by memorable characters.

Nicholas Christopher, author of A Trip to the Stars
"The Ha-Ha is an immense pleasure.

Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel
"Dave King vividly connects us to a character whose own connections to the outside world are almost nonexistent.

Book Description
A novel of extraordinary emotional power, hailed as one of the most moving and remarkable literary debuts of the year. THE HA-HA is the story of Howard Kapostash, a mute war veteran who, in opening his home to a nine-year-old boy, is afforded a rare glimpse of life outside his shellwith all its exuberant joys and crushing sorrows.

About the Author
Dave King holds a BFA in painting and film from Cooper Union and an MFA in writing from Columbia University. He has been published in The Paris Review and Big City Lit, and he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in New York



PLEASE READ: All comments must be approved before appearing in the thread; time and space constraints prevent all comments from appearing. We will only approve comments that are directly related to the article, use appropriate language and are not attacking the comments of others.

Message (please, no HTML tags. Web addresses will be hyperlinked):

Related Free eBooks

Related Tags

DIGG This story   Save To Google   Save To Windows Live   Save To Del.icio.us   diigo it   Save To blinklist
Save To Furl   Save To Yahoo! My Web 2.0   Save To Blogmarks   Save To Shadows   Save To stumbleupon   Save To Reddit