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Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries)by Adam Ross
It's one heck of a juxtaposition. You adore your wife beyond all reason, can't imagine life without her, but are forever constructing detailed fantasies in which she, often violently, meets her demise. Such is the conundrum that David Pepin faces in Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross's unflinchingly honest yet arguably brutal rendering of connubial dysfunction and harmony. Whether you personally relate to David and Alice's tumultuous affairs or simply enjoy them with the support of a clear conscience, you'll certainly be intrigued by these characters and eternally grateful for any wonderfully boring, run-of-the-mill relationships you're in.
Synopses & Reviews
David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After thirteen years of marriage, he still cant imagine a remotely happy life without her — yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.
The detectives investigating Alice's suspicious death have plenty of personal experience with conjugal enigmas: Ward Hastroll is happily married until his wife inexplicably becomes voluntarily and militantly bedridden; and Sam Sheppard is especially sensitive to the intricacies of marital guilt and innocence, having decades before been convicted and then exonerated of the brutal murder of his wife.
Still, these men are in the business of figuring things out, even as Pepin's role in Alice's death grows ever more confounding when they link him to a highly unusual hit man called Mobius. Like the Escher drawings that inspire the computer games David designs for a living, these complex, interlocking dramas are structurally and emotionally intense, subtle, and intriguing; they brilliantly explore the warring impulses of affection and hatred, and pose a host of arresting questions. Is it possible to know anyone fully, completely? Are murder and marriage two sides of the same coin, each endlessly recycling into the other? And what, in the end, is the truth about love?
Mesmerizing, exhilarating, and profoundly moving, Mr. Peanut is a police procedural of the soul, a poignant investigation of the relentlessly mysterious human heart — and a first novel of the highest order.
"Sophisticated, surreal and creepy." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Of all the novels I read this year, this was the one that I read most eagerly, consuming it in eager gulps, dismissing other obligations." The New Republic
"A formidable literary talent…Finely wrought and challenging." The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Mr. Peanut is full of tricks: shifting narrations, quirky chronology and meta-novels within novels. The effect is disorienting, but the characters are too well drawn to feel like pawns in some game. The result is a deliciously clever book, full of dark insight and even a touch of hope." The Economist
“A dark tale of love, hate, murder and marriage: a cleverly written, structurally complex narrative.” NPR.org
“Mr. Peanut is as ingenious as it is riveting.” Richard Russo
“The most riveting look at the dark side of marriage since Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?...It induced nightmares, at least in this reader. No mean feat.” Stephen King
“Powerful...delivers one scorching scene after another. Ross is interested in all the soul-killing ways men and women try and fail to achieve intimacy, and [with] noirish sensibility and eloquent prose, he wraps his age-old theme in a confounding yet memsmerizing format.” Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Adam Ross lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and their two daughters. www.adam-ross.com
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