Born in Manhattan and raised in New Jersey, Eli Gottlieb has worked as a Senior Editor of Elle Magazine and taught American Literature as a Lecturer at the University of Padova, Italy. His first novel, The Boy Who Went Away has won him the Rome Prize and the Mckitterick Prize of the British Society of Authors and have been published in 14 countries. Best Boy published by Liveright on August 24, 2015 is his fourth novel and winner of The Bridge book award 2016.
Sent to a “therapeutic community” for autism at the age of eleven, Todd Aaron, now in his fifties, is the “Old Fox” of Payton LivingCenter. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and persuades him to go off his meds to feel “normal” again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return “home” to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams. You’re told many things when you love an adult with autism. You’re told that person will bring joy and grief and frustration and — if you let it happen — great humor into your life. Written astonishingly in the first-person voice of an autistic, adult man, Best Boy―with its unforgettable portraits of Todd’s beloved mother, whose sweet voice still sings from the grave, and a staffer named Raykene, who says that Todd “reflects the beauty of His creation”―is a piercing, achingly funny, finally shattering novel no reader can ever forget.