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A Thousand Pardonsby Jonathan Dee
Synopses & Reviews
For readers of Jonathan Franzen and Richard Russo, Jonathan Dee's novels are masterful works of literary fiction. In this sharply observed tale of self-invention and public scandal, Dee raises a trenchant question: what do we really want when we ask for forgiveness?
Once a privileged and loving couple, the Armsteads have now reached a breaking point. Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home — a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. Then, in one afternoon, Ben's recklessness takes an alarming turn, and everything the Armsteads have built together unravels, swiftly and spectacularly.
Thrust back into the working world, Helen finds a job in public relations and relocates with Sara from their home in upstate New York to an apartment in Manhattan. There, Helen discovers she has a rare gift, indispensable in the world of image control: She can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances. Yet redemption is more easily granted in her professional life than in her personal one.
As she is confronted with the biggest case of her career, the fallout from her marriage, and Sara's increasingly distant behavior, Helen must face the limits of accountability and her own capacity for forgiveness.
"A Thousand Pardons is that rare thing: a genuine literary thriller. Eerily suspenseful and packed with dramatic event, it also offers a trenchant, hilarious portrait of our collective longing for authenticity in these overmediated times." Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad
"A page turner without sacrificing a smidgen of psychological insight. What a triumph." Kirkus (starred review)
"Dee is adept at meshing the complexities of marriage and family life with the paradoxes of the zeitgeist. In his sixth meticulously lathed and magnetizing novel, he riffs on the practice of crisis management...[and] nets the absurdities of a society geared to communicate in a thousand electronic modes while those closest to each other can barely make eye connect." Booklist
About the Author
Jonathan Dee is the author of five novels, most recently The Privileges, which was both a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and winner of the 2011 Prix Fitzgerald. He is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, a National Magazine Award–nominated literary critic for Harper’s, and a former senior editor of the Paris Review. He teaches in the graduate writing programs at Columbia University and the New School. He is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
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