I loved reading a story set in New York 79 80 I m too young to remember those years, but nevertheless, it made me nostalgic And, letting Dakota, one of the most iconic buildings in the city be the central point was a great move I loved getting to know Anton and Buddy To follow them as Anton tries to help his father return to the limelight as well as trying to find his own place outside his father s shadow There is so much going on the world, the Olympics, Ted Kennedy s campaign I really, really loved Joan Kennedy part in this story As the saying goes, behind every successful man there s a woman And, Joan really showed in this story how to rise above Ted s infidelities Not to mention standing by Ted, despite the Chappaquiddick incident that in the end ruined his political ambitions.
There is so much going in this book I first gave the book four stars However, when I started to write this review did I start to think about how much I enjoyed this story And, how sad I was to have to say goodbye to Anton and the rest of the characters at the end of the book So, I raised the rating to five stars I warmly recommend this book I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review There are places I remember, all my life though some have changed Some forever not for better, some have gone and some remain All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends I still can recall John Lennon, In My Life The Beatles Rubber Soul, 1965 Tom Barbash s The Dakota Winters is a nice historical fiction fictional biography mash up about a young man that really succeeds in capturing a certain time and place, that being the American cultural atmosphere during calendar year 1980 in New York City s Upper West Side neighborhood.
Anton Winter is twenty three years old, returning home to NYC after two years overseas in the Peace Corps and to recover from a near fatal illness Walker s family mother, father, older sister, younger brother resides in the famed Dakota Apartments by Central Park In U.
S pop culture the Dakota is usually remembered for two things the setting of the book film Rosemary s Baby and the real life home of John Lennon Yoko Ono in the 70 s The former is mentioned while the latter is an integral part of Winter s life Lennon is both a neighbor and a friend to the fictional Winter family.
This book has roughly three plot threads 1 Anton experiencing typical things though, it should be noted, from an upper class status like dating, working, and conversations with his friends 2 his easygoing friendship and interactions with John Lennon and 3 his relationship with father Buddy.
Anton s father Buddy was a successful talk show host shades of Dick Cavett, though Jack Paar and Mike Douglas are in the mix as well who had a controlled breakdown on air, simply walking away in the middle of an episode some months ago Now that Buddy has had some time to rest AND son Anton who previously worked for him as a triple threat combo of personal assistant unofficial producer advice sounding board is home can he resurrect his career with starting a new show While the father son sections of the book were good, I most liked the other two parts Anton s scenes with Lennon, and his days nights hanging out with friends or humbly working as a busboy.
The plot threads quickly converge in November December 1980, with a reinvigorated Lennon after his self imposed five year work hiatus recording Double Fantasy Could Anton possibly be instrumental haha in getting Lennon to appear as a guest on Buddy s new show Things seem to go swimmingly it even sounds like the three former bandmates will show up, too but then .
95% of The Dakota Winters was great my personal yardstick is the faster I read something, theI know I m liking it I tore through the book in just four days However, the one thing this book lacked was a solid or proper ending Another reviewer called it non existent, and I agree While most of us know how actual history shook out in December 1980, this is, after all, a fictional story There was a lot of build up on a certain plot thread, and then it s not really handled or shown.
Still, I m game for anything that presents Lennon in a positive light he was taken away too soon.
An Evocative And Wildly Absorbing Novel About The Winters, A Family Living In New York City S Famed Dakota Apartment Building In The Year Leading Up To John Lennon S AssassinationIt S The Fall OfIn New York City When Twenty Three Year Old Anton Winter, Back From The Peace Corps And On The Mend From A Nasty Bout Of Malaria, Returns To His Childhood Home In The Dakota Anton S Father, The Famous Late Night Host Buddy Winter, Is There To Greet Him, Himself Recovering From A Breakdown Before Long, Anton Is Swept Up In An Effort To Reignite Buddy S Stalled Career, A Mission That Takes Him From The Gritty Streets Of New York, To The Slopes Of The Lake Placid Olympics, To The Hollywood Hills, To The Blue Waters Of The Bermuda Triangle, And Brings Him Into Close Quarters With The Likes Of Johnny Carson, Ted And Joan Kennedy, And A Seagoing John LennonBut The Anton Finds Himself Enmeshed In His Father S Professional And Spiritual Reinvention, The He Questions His Own Path, And Fissures In The Winter Family Begin To Threaten Their Close Bond By Turns Hilarious And Poignant, The Dakota Winters Is A Family Saga, A Page Turning Social Novel, And A Tale Of A Critical Moment In The History Of New York City And The Country At Large Wharton s city in another time This is a family saga, coming of age tale and cultural history all tied into one engaging, charming and all around enjoyable novel The set piece is The Dakota, New York City s famed apartment building home to the wealthy and famous The story is told through the eyes of a son trying to come out of his father s shadow in 1980 and we meet John Lennon, Ted and Joan Kennedy, Johnny Carson, as well as, revisit the Lake Placid Olympics and the Iran hostage crisis among other events There was an accepted truth that above our job, our salary, the organizations you belonged to, the clothes you wore, and the car you drove, the biggest indicator of status in New York, was your address For as long as we lived in the Dakota, we were fine, by appearances if not in truth.
This was the year leading up to the tragic murder of The Dakota s most famous resident, but rather than foreshadow that tragic event, the author chooses to focus on a family, the Winters, and provides only glimpses into Lennon s last year The author provides so much vivid detail that it feelslike a memoir, as if you are reading about someone living in that moment in time It felt like we lived in a haunted castle, which on the whole I liked because I thought it kept the prim and timid away.
In an interview, Wabash revealed that while writing this book he spent his days reading archived dailies of the New York Times, listings from the New Yorker and listening to music of the period, essentially living in 1980 It is this kind of immersive research that gives this story an authenticity that I felt and appreciated The writing was a pleasure to read, most of which is dialogue, and that made it evenevocative I really enjoyed this walk down memory lane and look forward toof this author s writing.
Anton Winter has just returned to New York, at the beginning of this novel He has been in Africa, with the Peace Corps, but a bout of malaria has left him needing to recuperate Anton s father, Buddy, is a late night chat show host, who is recovering from a break down, after walking off the set of his show one night and out of a job Anton s mother was an actress and spends much of her time helping Joan Kennedy with Ted Kennedy s Presidential race Brother Kip plays tennis and his sister, Rachel, is heavily involved in a romance with a police officer It is 1980 and Anton, and his family, like in the Dakota Over the course of a year, we follow his attempts to help his father find a new show, while he tries to both resist the pull of his father s need for his help and yet find himself attracted by his celebrity orbit Of course, there is another man living in the Dakota that year, whose career, having been dormant for a few years, is about to reignite with tragic consequences It is important to state that this is not a novel about John Lennon, but he does appear in this novel notably when Anton goes on a sailing trip with him.
I found this a moving and interesting personal read and I think it would be a good choice for reading groups As well as having an interesting storyline, and characters, the author makes both New York, and the Dakota itself, come alive Obviously, we, as readers, do know what is coming, as we near the end, and it was difficult for me, as a Beatles fan, to read Still, the author did create a John Lennon that I recognised, being fair in his depiction and mixing the real characters, with the fictional, very well indeed I am sure that I will read this novel again and that I will explore by this author I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
narrated by Jim Meskimen I absolutely loved every minute spent listening to Tom Barbash s novel I read his collection of short stories, Stay Up With Me , years ago and honestly thought and still think they were one of the best collection of short stories I had have ever read I m not sure why I didn t jump to read The Dakota Winters , when it first came out I think I saw low reviews But I didn t remember anything about this book until 2 weeks ago when I had the pleasure of sitting center front row in a gorgeous mid to small size lecture hall in soft comfy chairs in Berkeley two weeks ago listening to Tom Barbash talk with 3 other authors at the Bay Area Book Festival All the authors in the room were terrific it was one of my favorite rooms I attended well, Rene Delfeld was wonderful in another room with a panel of other inspiring women fiction writers and the International authors from Scandinavian counties were great too but Tom stood out for me Down to earth great guy I downloaded this library overdrive novel with low expectations for the book itself, and knowing fiction books are hit and mix in Audio format.
but WOW I was HOOKED really hooked I stayed interested from start to finish Random thoughts of what I loved about The Dakota Winters surprisingly, the storytelling itself I don t always love every book written in and about and around New York like many New York fans do But when I do I really do The Nix by Nathan Hill, was a stand out Or name dropping of big names, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Ted and Joan Kennedy, Johnny Carlson, etc but I loved it in this book it worked naturally with the focus on the Winters family Yoko bought 5 apartments in the building the books voice narrator was soo easy to be with perfect loved the subtlety in the way Tom Barbash s characters come to life and are altered They feel genuine having normal interesting conversations.
with a complex moving, tender father son relationship the storytelling dialoguesand nostalgia late 70 s early 80 s , warmed my heart and imagination.
with great visuals of The Dakota apartment upper west side building the Winters family who lived in it.
and the story of John Lennon leading up to his assassination before the housing boom in NYC Some delicious food scenes too so best not to be hungry reading parts Anton Winter is just home from peace corps recovering from malaria.
having almost died of it Buddy Winter Anton s fatherwho was famous as a late night talk show host suffered a nervous breakdown a few years ago Buddy wants his son, Anton, to help him re kindle his TV career I liked Anton s friends mom, sister I liked them all There were times I laughed out loudso funny Other times I just felt sad MostI really loved these characters it was like stepping into their lives I was with them too Wonderful emotionally engaging novel fiction and history it had it all for me I m becoming a huge fan of Tom Barbash.
He s a TERRIFIC storyteller a master at developing character Whatcan I ask for in a novel Even though we know how the story is going to end before it begins The descriptions were so beautiful tears filled my eyes and heart After it ended listened to a few Beatle songs Reading this book put me in the mood to see the new movie Yesterday opening Friday, June 28th in my area One of myfavorite family saga Audiobooks I ve listen to all year I may need to give up on historical fiction I think it just isn t for me The Dakota Winters has a synopsis that caught my attention, but I struggled to maintain focus It s very slow paced with a lot of chatting and name dropping I think that this would be a good fit for the right reader I was expecting drama, and it s lacking in that area If you re a historical fiction fan, and are particularly interested in New York in the 70s, check this one out.
Very mediocre book The narrator seems to just be an observer throughout this story of second chances and comeback attempts Unfortunately, it often seemed that the author didn t quite know what he wanted the story to ultimately be about There was a rich opportunity here the famous Dakota and its famous residents but I didn t feel it was fully used This gets points for the narration on the audiobook, where a lot of the impersonations were pretty good 2.
Imagine what it must be like to have a famous father, and to play a role in his fame Imagine what it s like to be so enmeshed in his situation that you re not sure where his path ends and yours begins, or how to separate the two That describes Anton Winter s life pretty perfectly His father, Buddy, was a famous late night talk show host, and for years Anton, his mother, and his siblings played parts in many of the sketches his father did.
As Anton got older, he played acrucial role in the show, running through Buddy s monologue with him, prepping him regarding his various guests, and prepping the celebrity and non celebrity guests as well And then one night, Buddy had a bit of a nervous breakdown and flamed out, and disappeared for a while.
Finding himself at loose ends, Anton goes to Gabon with the Peace Corps for 10 months, and returns home after a particularly bad bout of malaria, which nearly killed him It s January of 1980, and he returns to his family s apartment in the Dakota, the legendary complex in New York City The city, and the country, are on edge, with crime in the city on the rise again, the Iranian hostage crisis, and presidential politics heating up While there s tumult around them, Buddy is back to his old self, if not better and stronger He is apresent figure in the lives of his family for the first time in a long while, and the stability feels like the return of an old friend But Buddy is longing to get back into show business, and Anton wants to help get him there It s not long before Anton is becoming his emissary, trying to find an angle to get him a place in front of the public he misses so much.
As Anton works to find Buddy s next opportunity, he s trying to decide what s next for him as well He fills his nights working as a busboy at a fancy restaurant, and he spends time getting closer with one of his father s close friends and their neighbor in the Dakota, John Lennon What John wantsthan anything is to learn how to sail, and Anton is able to teach him, and bring the singer peace amidst the demands of fans formusic The Dakota Winters was a really fascinating read, full of the complicated, interdependent relationships among family members who try to make another s dream happen There are lots of show business related tidbits, and the book had a real you are there feel for different places and moments in history, like the 1980 Winter Olympics and some rallies for Ted Kennedy during his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book, although Anton and Buddy were the most vividly drawn of all I also found the scenes with John Lennon pretty fascinating, and while this is a work of fiction, his personality seemed very much in keeping with what I ve read about him in the year prior to his death I ve never read anything that Tom Barbash has written before, but he definitely has a knack for telling a great story.
The pacing was a bit slower than I would have liked I felt like the book was moving toward a few inevitable conclusions, and it took a little longer to get there I also found the transition to the epilogue of sorts to be kind of abrupt, and given how much I became attached to the characters, I felt a little gypped by that But none of these issues were insurmountable, and there s so much to enjoy about this book.
I joke sometimes that when I think 40 years ago, I think of the 1960s, but crazily enough 1979 will be 40 years ago next year Next week, actually The Dakota Winters is a great snapshot of that time, and a great family story.
See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.
In 1979, Anton, the son of a late night talk show host returns from Africa to his family home at the Dakota to recover from Malaria Prior to his stint in the Peace Corps, his depressed father detonates his career by walking off the set mid show and travels to parts unknown to find himself He has returned by the time Anton comes home and the novel focuses on a family revolving around a talented father attempting make a come back John Lennon makes an appearance as do other celebrities I was charmed, nostalgic for a NYC that no longer exists and I fell a little in love with affable, lost and delightful Anton.