3.63 (149 ratings by Goodreads)
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Calvin Becker's strict fundamentalist upbringing means he's never seen a film, watched television or danced. He even has to hide his five second-hand copies of Mad magazine in the attic. Now he and his family - his embarrassingly devout missionary parents and his sisters, the tyrannical 18 year-old Janet and the angelic Rachael - are on their modest annual skiing holiday in Switzerland. For the Beckers, the Hotel Riffelberg had always provided a safe haven from the jazz-loving sinners who congregate further down the mountain in Zermatt, but this is 1966, the year of peace, love and the Beatles, and the world is changing. As is the irrepressible Calvin... In his innocent 14 year-old body the hormones are raging, awakening a volcanic sexual curiosity and he willingly succumbs to the ample charms of Eva, the young waitress who introduces him to ecstasies beyond his wildest dreams. But then Calvin's mother catches him supposedly in the act and things start to go awry, triggering a climactic end to his childhood (and the family holiday).show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 20mm | 221g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0552779296
  • 9780552779296

About Frank Schaeffer

The son of missionary parents, Frank Scaeffer was born in 1952 and when young did live in Switzerland and holiday on the Italian Riviera. He now lives in New York and Massachusetts. Portofino was his first novel, Zermatt continues the story of Calvin Becker and his hilarious, holier-than-thou family. With his son John, he wrote the New York Times bestseller, Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story about Love and the United States Marine Corps.show more

Review quote

"'Eloquently captures the atmosphere of place and period... Schaeffer describes both the pleasures and the occasional torments of childhood with charm and humour...the warmth of characterisation is matched by the novel's rich evocation of Italian life, and the accuracy with which it captures the nuances of 1960s manners'" * THE TIMES * "'Evocative, funny and wonderfully observed, reading this book is a holiday in itself'" * GUARDIAN * "'Not since Huck Finn has American literature been graced with a character as irresistible as Calvin Dort Becker'" * ANDRE DUBUS III * "'Poignant and hilarious...by turns, sentimental, celebratory, evocative and very funny'" * LOS ANGELES TIMES * "'Beautifully written with great insight and unselfconscious humour'" * PUBLISHERS WEEKLY *show more

Rating details

149 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 23% (35)
4 32% (47)
3 33% (49)
2 9% (13)
1 3% (5)
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