Synopses & Reviews
While the tumultuous 1970s rock the world around them, a collection of aging expatriates linger in a quiet town on the island of Crete, where they have escaped their pasts and their present. Among them is Horace, a gay American writer who fears he has finally reached old age. Friends only frustrate him, and his youthful Greek lover provides little satisfaction. Idling his time away with alcohol and working on a novel that he will never finish, Horace feels closer than ever to his own sorry end.
That is, until a young, enigmatic American woman named Helen joins his crowd of outsiders. In Helen, Horace discovers someone brilliant, beautiful, and stubbornly mysterious in short, she becomes his absolute obsession.
But as Horace knows, people have a way of preserving their secrets even as they try to forget them. Soon, Helens past begins to follow her to Crete. A suicidal ex-lover appears without warning; whispers of her long-dead sister surface in local gossip; and signs of ancient Gypsy rituals come to the fore. Helen vanishes. Deep down, Horace knows that he must find her before he can find any peace within himself.
"Clever, witty, passionately written.... Lynne Tillman writes with such elan, such spirited delight and comic intelligence that it is difficult to take anything but pleasure....” Douglas Glover, Washington Post Book World
With Cast in Doubt, Lynne Tillman achieves several different kinds of miracles. She moves into the skin of a sixtyish male homosexual novelist so effortlessly that the reader immediately loses sight of the illusion and accepts the narrator as a real person. Alongside the narrator we move into the gossipy, enclosed world of English and American artists and madmen living in Crete, and at every step, as the play of consciousness suggests, alerts, and alters, are made aware of a terrible chaos that seems only just out of sight. But what impresses me most about Cast in Doubt is the great and powerful subtlety with which it peers out of itself Tillman's intelligence and sophistication have led her toward a quality I can only call grace. Like Stein, Ashbery, and James, this book could be read over and over, each time with deepening delight and appreciation.” Peter Straub
Tingly, crisp, and wry.... Delightfully clever and probing.” Donna Seaman, Booklist
”Tillman's evocation of Horace and his life among ruins both geographic and aesthetic is a tour de force. Cast in Doubt recasts every genre it touches-the expatriate novel, the mystery, the novel of ideas-like a multiply haunted house of both form and identity.” Voice Literary Supplement, Best Books of 1992
”If you can keep up with him, Horace will take you all kinds of places.... I was unwilling to close the cover and break the spell. I turned the book over and started over again.” Boston Phoenix
A private eye in the public sphere, [Tillman] refuses no assignment and distils the finest wit, intelligence and hard evidence from some of the world's most transient artifacts and allegories. This is a truly memorable book.” Andrew Ross
"Tillman . . . casts doubt on the basis of human cognition and our subjective knowledge of other people [in] this literate, diverting story." Publishers Weekly
Praise for Lynne Tillman:
"One of America's most challenging and adventurous writers." Guardian
"Lynne Tillman has always been a hero of mine not because I 'admire' her writing, (although I do, very, very much), but because I feel it. Imagine driving alone at night. You turn on the radio and hear a song that seems to say it all. That's how I feel..." Jonathan Safran Foer
"Like an acupuncturist, Lynne Tillman knows the precise points in which to sink her delicate probes. One of the biggest problems in composing fiction is understanding what to leave out; no one is more severe, more elegant, more shocking in her reticences than Tillman." Edmund White
Anything Ive read by Tillman Ive devoured.” Anne K. Yoder, The Millions
"If I needed to name a book that is maybe the most overlooked important piece of fiction in not only the 00s, but in the last 50 years, [American Genius, A Comedy] might be the one. I could read this back to back to back for years." Blake Butler, HTML Giant
About the Author
(New York, NY) is the author of five novels, three collections of short stories, one collection of essays and two other nonfiction books. She collaborates often with artists and writes regularly on culture, and her fiction is anthologized widely. Her last collection of short stories, This Is Not It
, included 23 stories based on the work of 22 contemporary artists. Her novels include American Genius, A Comedy
(2006), No Lease on Life
(1998) which was a New York Times Notable Book of 1998 and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Cast in Doubt
(1992), Motion Sickness
(1991), and Haunted Houses
(1987). The Broad Picture
(1997) collected Tillmans essays, which were published in literary and art periodicals. She is the Fiction Editor at Fence
Magazine, Professor and Writer-in-Residence in the Department of English at the University at Albany, and a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.