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Publisher's Summary

The stories in Paul Alan Ruben's Terms of Engagement explore father and son as intimate enemies, each yearning to be understood, acknowledged, and validated by the other. Raw and gripping as delivered by a cast of incredible narrators, these nine stories take place in collision territory - where father and son engage in trying to repair their alienation.   

Despite this, hope is the theme that pulses through the collection. Hope propels: a desperate father’s attempt to get his stay-at-home son off his ass and functioning like an adult; a teenager’s uncertain effort to rescue his emotionally distant father; a 30-year absentee father’s meticulously constructed strategy to reconnect to his estranged adult son; and a new dad’s effort to break free of repeating the sins of his father.   

The breathtaking cast bringing these stories to life have won Audie Awards, Grammy Awards, innumerable AudioFile Earphone Awards, and beyond their narration talents, have been celebrated on stages and screens all over the world.  

©2018 Paul Alan Ruben (P)2018 Alison Larkin Presents

Critic Reviews

“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, author)

“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)

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A glimpse of the male enigma

This is a rare foray into the minds and hearts of men in regards to their relationships and deepest feelings towards their loved ones. Fathers and sons grapple with their, often, thorny bond. In nine short stories, we are witness to raw emotions, volatile anger and acute sensitivity with an underlying current of promise. I couldn’t help but draw parallels with aspects of these stories to men in my own life. The narration was world class. Just outstanding. I highly recommend this audiobook.

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Nothing short of brilliant

Paul Alan Ruben's book of short stories is moving, thought provoking and brilliantly read by some of the best narrators in the world. Relationships between fathers and sons are rarely easy. In this rare exploration of the difficulties of such a relationship one minute we're with the son, the next with the father. It's a collection of literary short stories that is brilliantly narrated you feel like you are with the characters. Very high production values too. More than a cut above anything I've listened to in a very long time. Highly recommended.