Bruiser by Ian Chorao
A Novel

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Synopsis

After spending another morning hiding in the clothes hamper eavesdropping on his miserable parents, Bruiser escapes to the open world outside. Set free into the chilly air of a noisy spring day in the city, slamming around, screaming crazy with guys on the block, Bruiser thinks of home and realizes it's time to change his life. So begins the journey of a nine-year-old boy with a rich visual imagination who is trying to make sense of the world. This is Bruiser's account in his own words, captured by first-time novelist Ian Chorao with uncanny precision and an ear for the staccato rhythms of childhood consciousness. A novel refreshingly free of sentimentality, "Bruiser" confronts the darkness and violence of life even as it illuminates its wonder and sweetness.With a remarkably original narrative style, Bruiser spirits readers back to the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the late 1970s. From here, we follow Bruiser on his unlikely search for meaning, solace, and eventually the seeds of a tentative, hard-won maturity. Overwhelmed by the pain and confusion of a troubled home life -- his father is remote and given to irrational rages, his mother is undone by stifled artistic aspirations -- Bruiser takes to the open road with Darla, a ten-year-old kindred spirit who lives across the alleyway. Their flight from the mounting tensions of home, an adventure dotted with frightening episodes and surprising revelations, is a journey in search of liberation and emotional truth, and with potentially tragic consequences.Ian Chorao inhabits a child's particular frame of mind with acute sensitivity and startling immediacy. In the disjunction between the limitations of a young boy's awareness andour adult understanding of the circumstances lies a special poetry that is its own powerful truth, and a reminder of the often uncertain, yet painfully acute impressions that adults can make on the hearts and minds of children. In language that is both spare and potently sincere, Chorao has created a character in Bruiser that we won't soon forget.
 

About Ian Chorao

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Ian Chorao has been a social worker for the mentally ill, the elderly, and the homeless; a designer and art director in the film and fashion industries, and a carpenter. Like his main character, he grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He lives in New York City with his wife and son. This is his first novel.
 
Published March 25, 2003 by Atria. 368 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bruiser

Publishers Weekly

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Bruiser befriends resilient 10-year-old Darla, who lives with her pill-popping single mother across the alleyway and persuades Bruiser to run away with her.

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