Jerry Engels is a promiscuous,
forever in love young man who
we first met in Thomas Rogers’s novel At the Shores (Simon & Schuster, 1980). With a
graceful agility that is both comic and touchingly
human, Thomas Rogers shows the confusion and heartache
of reconciling young, uninhibited passion with mature
In Rogers’s new novel, we
find Jerry at Penn State, where he is failing most of
his classes and still worrying about women, perpetual
love, and his increasing promiscuity. After
recovering from the broken heart he suffered losing
Rosalind, Jerry has made the rounds through girlfriends
and casual encounters, with the occasional married
housewife or prostitute thrown in for good measure.
Dispirited by a recent breakup but resilient as
ever, Jerry takes a weekend vacation to clear his head.
Here he chances upon Elizabeth, his attractive
(and recently divorced) Freshman Composition
instructor, and they spend one passionate night
But when reason reawakens the next
morning and Elizabeth returns to Penn State alone, it
seems likely that the two will go their separate ways.
But Jerry refuses to let her drop him; he tracks
her down and--to the reader's delight and
Elizabeth’s surprise--she finds herself won over
by Jerry’s innocuous charms. Through
Jerry’s candidly quirky yet familiar voice,
Rogers illuminates the bewildering complexity of
youthful passion, true love, and the perils of trying
to walk the line in between. Yes--as Jerry
finally proves--it can be done.
Praise for Jerry Engels:
“The light music of
Rogers’s style, the wry modesty of his language
and the pouncing accuracy of his observations are
easily enjoyed. ‘Her dress came slithering
off like a tarpaulin from some public monument.’
Any book containing that line is worth reading.
But it is the extra dimension of comic-rhapsodic
gladness that may turn “Jerry Engels” into
a classic. Thomas Rogers was born in 1927.
Without condescending, we can surely salute the
achievement of an author in his late 70’s who has
written a book as deft, unshadowed and light on its
feet as this.”
--The New York Times Book Review