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The Man Who Was Lateby Louis Begley
Synopses & Reviews
A man without a country or family, a Holocaust survivor, Ben long ago left the wreckage of Europe and recreated himself as a brilliant financier. He rejects the comforts of love and is shocked to discover Veronique — beautiful, unwisely married, and all that Ben suddenly knows he has always needed. In their stolen hours and weekends, their deep commitment to one another fills their lives as nothing ever has. But the question remains: Can Ben finally take what he has always denied himself..?
From the author of Wartime Lies.
"The Man Who Was Late tells the intriguing story of Ben, a successful international lawyer who grew up in Central Europe during World War II and who reinvented himself during his years at Harvard. When Ben commits suicide after completing an intricate business deal, his best friend Jack, the executor of Ben's will and the story's narrator, struggles to make sense of Ben's life by examining Ben's notes, his letters, and the recollections of their past conversations. Prominent in each of these is Ben's active sexual history, which includes an affair with Jack's cousin, Veronique. It is after Ben's affair with Veronique fails that Ben ends his life. Encountering each episode of Ben's life, readers must address themselves to life's ultimate questions: What is its meaning? How is one to live? Is happiness possible? Can one live without love? Because it manages to combine the pleasures of a well-told story with the seriousness of philosophic inquiry, The Man Who Was Late is both an intellectual and emotional success." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"Begley writes with a contemplative wisdom that permeates his work....[He] has captured some of the wispy melancholy of midcentury fiction, and this feat in itself is mellifluous to both ear and spirit." Boston Globe
"In writing of the upper class, Begley invites comparisons with Louis Auchincloss; his style is similarly urbane and elegant, his eye equally unsparing. Despite his...protagonist's failings, Begley succeeds in making him a poignant figure." Publishers Weekly
"Ben's slick personality sometimes leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and readers might wonder whether Begley is mocking or buying into upper-class pretensions. But the author demonstrates once again that he can write a compelling story in disarmingly lucid prose." Library Journal
An acclaimed new novel by the award-winning author of Wartime Lies. A Holocaust survivor leaves the wreckage of Europe and recreates himself as a brilliant financier. Connected to the world by globe-trotting deals and impeccable charm, he rejects the comforts of love...until he meets Veronique.
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