Long Ago and Far Away
a book review by The Ol’ Book Buzzard, Barney Basin
  When a young man goes from youth to maturity, it is often referred to as “coming-of -age.” This is the story of the summer it happened to 15-year-old Toby Autoun, the hero of Robert Joseph’s novel Long Ago and Far Away.
It all starts when Autoun’s aunt, Layla LeMay as she calls herself, has a chance to fulfill her dream of being an opera singer with the Lake Alspoquim Opera Company, even if the company performs in a tent in a summer resort. Her husband, Dr. Alfred Nimmer, has consented to her spending the summer with the company under one condition: if she takes her 15-year-old nephew along. The doctor thinks his wife should forget this singing nonsense and stay home and be a good little doctor’s wife.  Antoun will act as a spy for his uncle who knows just how flirty and tempestuous his wife can be.
  This is an exciting coming-of-age story set in the last days of World War II. The summer becomes a life-changing season as Toby tries to understand the nature of the adults who surround him. Among the teenagers that Antoun meets and interacts with is Ron Finnegan, a slightly older boy who works around the rental cabins. Finnegan’s goal is to join the Army, shoot the Nazis, and come home and marry Trish Covington, a spoiled little rich girl who summers at the resort and winters at a fancy girl’s school where she majors in breaking every rule. There is also Ursula Kleinholz, who works at her father’s resort restaurant and finds most of the young, males beneath her. Her goal is to move to New York City.
  High on the list of men Dr. Nimmer does not trust is an Italian tenor named Chaz Peccorini. He is a talented, handsome performer with a Bill Clinton problem, which leads to the unexpected but exciting conclusion to this story.
  Long Ago and Far Away by Pahrump Author Joseph is a smart original take on the coming-of-age genre. He inhabits his book with interesting, realistic characters.

Contact author Barney Basin at barneybasin@yahoo.com.