BOOKS RECOMMENDED IN BOOKS
Desperate Characters: A Novel
“A towering landmark of postwar Realism… . A sustained work of prose so lucid and fine it seems less written than carved.” - David Foster Wallace
Otto and Sophie Bentwood live childless in a renovated Brooklyn brownstone. The complete works of Goethe line their bookshelf, their stainless-steel kitchen is newly installed, and their Mercedes is parked curbside. But after Sophie is bitten on the hand while trying to feed a half-starved neighborhood cat, a series of small and ominous disasters begin to plague their lives. The fault lines of their marriage are revealed - echoing the fractures of society around them, slowly wrenching itself apart. First published in 1970 to wide acclaim, Desperate Characters stands as one of the most dazzling and rigorous examples of the storyteller’s craft in postwar American literature …
The Widow’s Children
“Chekhovian… . Every line of Fox’s story, every gesture of her characters, is alive and surprising.”-Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times
On the eve of their trip to Africa, Laura Maldonada Clapper and her husband, Desmond, sit in a New York City hotel room, drinking scotch-and-sodas and awaiting the arrival of three friends: Clara Hansen, Laura’s timid, brow-beaten daughter from a previous marriage; Carlos, Laura’s flamboyant and charming brother; and Peter Rice, a melancholy editor whom Laura hasn’t seen for over a year. But what begins as a bon voyage party soon parlays into a bitter, claustrophobic clash of family resentment. From the hotel room to the tony restaurant to which the five embark, Laura presides over the escalating innuendo and hostility with imperial cruelty, for she is hiding the knowledge that her mother, the family matriarch, has died of a heart attack that morning. A novel as intense as it is unerringly observed, The Widow’s Children is another revelation of the storyteller’s art from the incomparable Paula Fox.
via Tom Bissell / “Unflowered Aloes” / Magic Hours