Novelist, short story, and non-fiction author. Grammy-winning audiobook producer/director, storytelling speaker.
Released November 6, 2018
Terms of Engagement:
stories of the father and son
Published by Larkin Books
A Division of Alison Larkin Presents
Paul Alan Ruben portrays father and son as intimate enemies, each yearning to be understood, acknowledged, and validated by the other. These nine stories take place in collision territory—where father and son engage one another in uncertain terms, both desperately trying to repair the emotional damage that has led to their alienation.
"Literary, accessible and wholly original this collection of stories brings the often neglected subject of father-son relationships to life with depth and authenticity in Ruben's skilled hands."
~ Alison Larkin, Publisher
PRAISE FOR TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
“A quiet lyricism emerges from these stories and it serves to underscore their emotional impact. Ruben can touch you deeply--and he can break your heart.”
—T. C. Boyle, New York Times bestselling author of over twenty-six books of fiction
“Aside from the mother daughter relationship nothing is more important in determining a person’s life than the relationship between father and son. No one has captured the tragic and transformative implications better than Paul Alan Ruben.”
—Michael Gates Gill, New York Times bestselling author of How Starbucks Saved My Life
“In Paul Alan Ruben’s sharply drawn world, sons are sons forever, and no father ever rests in peace.”
—Jay Heinrichs, New York Times bestselling author of Thank You For Arguing
“EM Forester advised us, ‘Only Connect.’ But if he read Paul Alan Ruben’s Terms of Engagement he’d have to admit that the task is more daunting in father-son relationships. The author’s stories strongly plead the case that men today need to learn to better connect, better love each other and be loved. Terms of Engagement can make you cry, commit to doing better in your relationships as a father and/or son, and if you already have, to treasure the rewards that have come out of these efforts.” —Robert, Garfield, M.D., Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship
“With wrecking-ball force and brilliant energy, Paul Alan Ruben reveals his characters’ fraught terms of engagement. In galloping sentences that are yet intricate and nuanced, we see the sometimes breathcatching and sometimes haunting frictional force of these father-son relationships. These men converse, argue, and kibbitz and in doing so, wondrously negotiate shaky peace or declare no-holds-barred war.” —Mary Clyde, author of the award-winning short story collection, Survival Rates
“Who deserves sympathy and who is a jerk? Maybe Oedipus SHOULD kill his father on purpose? Maybe father Abraham should ignore the ram and plunge the son? Engage with Paul Alan Ruben's book and you'll be left reeling. It sizzles.” —Sena Jeter Naslund, author of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year, Ahab's Wife and Four Spirits
“Are the terms of engagement for how to conduct a war or make peace? Paul Alan Ruben’s collection of short stories charts this contested terrain between fathers and sons--the most troubled of all relational zones. Beneath the anger: such longing for the father’s beneficence. What Ruben’s book asks of each of us, is whether we are sons, fathers, or both.” — James Hollis, Ph. D., Jungian Analyst and author of Under Saturn’s Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men
“In each of the nine short stories that comprise his debut collection, Paul Ruben anatomizes the hearts and minds of fathers and sons with skill, precision, and linguistic verve to burn. As with the best literature, Terms of Engagement is filled with thrills and surprises.” —Robin Lippincott, author of Blue Territory: A Meditation on the Life and Art of Joan Mitchell