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Desolationby Carol Janeway
Synopses & Reviews
From the internationally acclaimed playwright and author of Art comes a first novel of extraordinary brilliance: the outpourings—at once eccentric, dark, and exceedingly funny—of an old man reflecting upon his life, marriages, friendships, love affairs, and the enragingly separate existence of his spoiled, and lost, only son.
He has had a full life, and now, in his later years, retired, his second wife getting on his nerves, love affairs a distant memory, he has a few things that he’d like to get off his chest.
As he talks—half to himself, half to the son he can’t understand—we’re introduced to Nancy, his too-happy wife; to their housekeeper, Mrs. Dacimiento, who still can’t put the bag properly over the rim of the garbage can; to his chum Lionel; to his daughter and her wannabe-truly-Jewish husband; and to the heartbreaking Marisa Botton, his idiotic, irresistible mistress. Finally, we witness his chance re-encounter with the charming Genevieve Abramowitz, who in telling him a story of her own leads him to his final overtures.
Yasmina Reza has written a symphonic monologue—a passionate kvetch, a truly original work.
From the Hardcover edition.
As he looks back over the events and relationships of his life, an elderly man reflects on his youth, marriage, friendships, love affairs, and his spoiled, estranged son. A first novel. Reprint. 10,000 first printing.
Samuel Perlman, the elderly narrator of Yasmina Reza’s deliriously dyspeptic novel, is surrounded by happy people. His wife Nancy is thrilled to be a member of the human race. His grown son is content crisscrossing the world to “sample exotic fruit with the savages.” But Samuel himself refuses to be happy and his attempt to explain his refusal (half to his son and half to himself) generates an epic, blasphemous, and hilarious rant against the compromises of his life.
Whether he is recounting his pal Lionel’s heroic battle against impotence; lamenting the loss of his great love, the irresistible Marisa Botton; or pondering the possibility of a new love in the person of one Genevieve Abramowitz, the droll, irascible Perlman is one of the great talkers of contemporary fiction. And Desolation is one of the most dazzling performances ever written for one voice.
About the Author
Yasmina Reza is a playwright and novelist whose plays have all been multi-award-winning critical and popular international successes, translated in more than thirty languages. Her plays include Conversations After a Burial, The Passage of Winter, Art (which was awarded a Tony in 1999), The Unexpected Man, and Life ? 3. She is also the author of a translation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, a novel, Hammerklavier, and a film, Lulu Kreutz’s Picnic. She lives in Paris.
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