A Long Island Story is an acute portrait of the uneasiness and claustrophobia of family life ... Gekoski is skilled at characterisation and he has great fun playing with his readers’ sympathies ... Unfortunately, A Long Island Story lacks the comic shading of [his first novel], Darke ... The book also lacks the vivifying spark of originality that made Darke something well out of the ordinary ... His second novel is impeccably sharp about people and engrossingly readable.
His follow-up, A Long Island Story, wants entrance to the 'Great American Novel' genre. It doesn’t quite make the cut, but is nevertheless an engrossing read ... It is a tale of the disaffected middle class (I was reminded of Richard Yates), and the narratives of what might have been. Most of all, it’s an authentic portrayal of a particularly captivating time and place.
The novel, less a political story than one of a family unraveling, is loosely a roman à clef ... Unfortunately, he has now chosen to tell it from the adults’ point of view, so we lose the richness and insight the young Gekoski must have experienced so intimately. I would have loved to read this book as a fictionalized memoir told from the boy’s perspective ... As it stands, the adults in the novel feel empty, distant, just gossiping shadows passing before the children’s eyes, talking about politics and divorce and affairs.