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Synopsis

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Jernigan introduced David Gates as a novelist of the highest order. "Full of dark truths and biting humor,"  wrote Frederick Exley, "a brilliant novel [that] will be read for a long time."

After that blackly comic handbook of self-destruction--whose antihero shoulders up to such crucial American figures as Bellow's Herzog, Updike's Harry Angstrom, Heller's Bob Slocum, Percy's Binx Bolling and Irving's Garp--Gates's new novel investigates the essential truths of a marriage à la mode. Doug and Jean Willis fit the newly classic, recognizable and seemingly normal variety: struggling against a riptide of the daily commute, the mortgages, the latchkey child-rearing and the country house, as well as the hopes and desires from which all of this grew.

In accordance with their long-standing agreement, Doug embarks from their Westchester home on a leave of absence from the PR job that had ineluctably become his life, while Jean contends with both her own job and their two children. Over a two-month period he'll spruce up the family's alternative universe up north in rural Preston Falls; she'll deal with her end of the bargain, and her worries about the survival of the family. But then domesticity hits the brick wall of private longings and nightmarish twists of fate.

A surprising, comic, horrifying and always engrossing novel, charged with the responsibilities of middle age and with the abiding power of love, however disappointed--told with great artistry, pitch-perfect understanding and fierce compassion.

"A novel that's the funniest, sharpest, most strangely exciting book about men and women in a long time."
--Tom Prince, Maxim


From the Hardcover edition.

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