Books by Garret Keizer

Released: March 26, 2019

"Funny, touching, and addictively readable poems."
A new collection of poetry from an award-winning author of prose. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 25, 2014

"A well-written, yearlong chronicle packed with humor, pathos and valued insights on nearly every page."
A high school teacher who became a full-time writer returns to the high school where he taught for years. Read full book review >
PRIVACY by Garret Keizer
Released: Aug. 7, 2012

"A provocative and unsettling look at something most take for granted—but shouldn't."
Acclaimed essayist and Harper's contributor Keizer (The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book About Noise, 2010, etc.) conducts a philosophical meditation on the nature of privacy and finds that the "right to be let alone" is a lot more complex than many may think. Read full book review >
Released: May 4, 2010

"Keizer casts a broad net, gathering data from numerous sources in time and space, but his take-home message is simple—for a better, more pleasant world, tone it down."
The history of six millennia of human-produced noise and an examination of its political and cultural implications today. Read full book review >
GOD OF BEER by Garret Keizer
Released: March 1, 2002

Devastating consequences ensue when a group of high-school students stage acts of civil disobedience to protest various legal and social issues involving the use and abuse of beer in this original, provocative—if muddled—coming-of-age story. At 18, Kyle Nelson, an unambitious everyboy who prides himself on his social fluidity—"drinks with the preps, hunts with the chucks"—is drifting through his last year of high school in the Vermont countryside. While studying protest movements in social studies, Kyle and his two best friends, Diana, a brainy, basketball-playing beauty, and Quake, a whizzy, non-violent Quaker idealist, conceive a term project linking social protest to the communal but illegal glue of high-school life: beer. The kids have three related but somewhat incompatible goals for their project: to "lower the drinking age," to "raise people's awareness of alcohol," and to "destroy the exaggerated status of drinking itself." Hampering their objectives—and by extension the novel—is that their aims require prolonged explanations and are multifaceted and ill-assorted. So when tragedy strikes in the form of an alcohol-related car accident that punishes the innocent more than the guilty, it's not clear what the reader is supposed to come away with. Keizer has an apt way with a description, an impoverished woman "looked a lot like the inside of her house . . . definitely poor yet very clean and pulled together," and his characterizations, particularly of the working-class Vermonters, are discerning and perceptive. Thought-provoking. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

An overwrought account of a churchman's daily life, written by an English teacher who serves as ``lay vicar'' of a small Vermont parish. Keizer seems to be a likeable and earnest young man; he is certainly guileless. We are given, at the start, an extremely meticulous account of the undefined yearnings that led him first to consider, then to reject, the vocation of an Anglican priest. He chose instead to become a schoolteacher and accepted a post in the ``Northeast Kingdom,'' a remote area of upper Vermont. His religious convictions remained strong, however, and he became deeply involved in the activities of his local parish—so much so that he was asked to assume leadership of it when the pastor retired. It is obvious that Keizer was the right man for the job- -his love for his work and his parishioners is proclaimed on nearly every page—but once this much has been established, he seems to have very little to say. His ordinary routine of prayer and work (Sunday services, visits to the sick, committee meetings) is duly set forth, but it is hard to see the drama that Keizer imputes to these events. Basically, this is a story that we have heard many times before: It takes all kinds; most people are decent; many are unhappy; quite a few are confused; and some are just no good. Keizer's fond excitement, while undoubtedly sincere, seems out of all proportion, and his apocalyptic prose—a monastery chapel, for instance, is described as ``a fragment of Eden full of possibilities in which one vaguely heard a serpentine hissing''- -doesn't help matters along very much. Well intentioned but bland. Instead of strip-mining his life for morals and epiphanies, Keizer would have done better to let events speak for themselves. Read full book review >