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Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to Youby Peter Cameron
Synopses & Reviews
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is the story of James Sveck, a sophisticated, vulnerable young man with a deep appreciation for the world and no idea how to live in it. James is eighteen, the child of divorced parents living in Manhattan. Articulate, sensitive, and cynical, he rejects all of the assumptions that govern the adult world around him — including the expectation that he will go to college in the fall. he would prefer to move to an old house in a small town somewhere in the Midwest. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You takes place over a few broiling days in the summer of 2003 as James confides in his sympathetic grandmother, stymies his canny therapist, deplores his pretentious sister, and devises a fake online identity in order to pursue his crush on a much older coworker. Nothing turns out how he'd expected.
"Possibly one of the all-time great New York books, not to mention an archly comic gem" (Peter Gadol, LA Weekly), Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is the insightful, powerfully moving story of a young man questioning his times, his family, his world, and himself.
"Beautifully conceived and written...funny, sad, tender, and sophisticated." Booklist
"His best work — it's terrific, piercing, and funny. The novel demonstrates every kind of strength." The New York Times Book Review
"James Sveck is a brilliant wit of a character whose voice will echo long after his story ends." Chicago Tribune
"Deliciously vital right from the start...a piece of vocal virtuosity and possibly Cameron's best book...It is a bravura performance, and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is a stunning little book. " The New York Review of Books
"Cameron's prose handily marries the tangled logic of adolescence to simple, beautiful language." Newsday
The sweet and subversive debut novel by award-winning memoirist and screenwriter Ariel Schrag. Sometimes a queer girl summer in New York is just what a straight boy needs.
The opening lines of Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You:
"The day my sister, Gillian, decided to pronounce her name with a hard G was, coincidentally, the same day my mother returned, early and alone, from her honeymoon. Neither of these things surprised me. Gillian, who was between her third and fourth years at Barnard, was dating a "language theory" professor named Rainer Maria Schultz and had consequently become something of a linguistic zealot, often ranting about something called "pure" language, of which Gillian with a hard G was supposedly an example. My mother, on the other hand, had rather rashly decided to marry an odd man named Barry Rogers."
Someday this Pain Will Be Useful to You is the story of a summer in the life of James Sveck, a sophisticated, vulnerable, and sexually ambiguous young man with a deep appreciation for the world and no idea how to live in it.
When Adam Freedman—a skinny, immature, and lackluster high school student from Piedmont, California—is sent by his parents to join his older sister Casey in New York City, he is hopeful that his life is about to change. And it sure does.
It is the Summer of 2006—the year of gay marriage demonstrations and the rise of transgender rights—and Casey has thrust herself into New Yorks fringe lesbian, sexual, and political scene. Accustomed to being a social misfit, Adam now finds himself part of a wild subculture complete with underground clubs, drinking, and friendly women who take a surprisingly intense interest in him. It takes some time for him to realize many in this new crowd assume he is transgendered—a boy who was born a girl—or else why would he always be around? But then he meets Gillian, the girl of his dreams. If only she werent a lesbian! And if only she didnt believe he was really (sort of) a girl.
Ariel Schrags scathingly funny and poignant debut novel puts a fresh spin on questions of love, attraction, self-definition, and what it takes to be at home in your own skin.
About the Author
Peter Cameron is the author of several novels, including Andorra and The Weekend. He lives in New York City.
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