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Shipwreckby Louis Begley
Synopses & Reviews
A mesmerizing novel of deception and betrayal from the acclaimed author of Wartime Lies and About Schmidt.
John North, a prize-winning American writer, is suddenly beset by dark suspicions about the real value of his work. Over endless hours and bottles of whiskey consumed in a mysterious café called L’Entre Deux Mondes, he recounts, in counterpoint to his doubts, the one story he has never told before, perhaps the only important one he will ever tell. North’s chosen interlocutor–who could be his doppelgänger–is transfixed by the revelations and becomes the narrator of North’s tale.
North has always been faithful to his wife, Lydia, but when one of his novels achieves a special success, he allows himself a dalliance with Léa, a starstruck young journalist. Coolly planning to make sure that his life with Lydia will not be disturbed, North is taken off guard when Léa becomes obsessed with him and he with her elaborate erotic games. As the hypnotic and serpentine confession unfurls, we gradually discover the extraordinary lengths to which North has gone to indulge a powerful desire for self-destruction.
Shipwreck is a daring parable of the contradictory impulses that can rend a single soul–narcissism and self-loathing, refinement and lust.
"The novel is both riveting and slightly off-putting....At the powerful closing, however, one can finally conclude that novelists are indeed an amoral bunch and that North's greatest story is his edgy, suspect life. Recommended." Library Journal
"Overworked to the point of caricature: Like Woody Allen, Begley sets his scenes largely by dropping names...but his characters never become credible in their own right. The story ends up feeling stagy and faked." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Louis Begley lives in New York City. His previous novels are Schmidt Delivered, Wartime Lies, The Man Who Was Late, As Max Saw It, About Schmidt, and Mistler?s Exit.
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