Synopses & Reviews
One of the most astute writers of American fiction” (New York Times Book Review
) delivers the resonant story of Alec Malone, a senators son who rejects the family business of politics for a career as a newspaper photographer. Alec and his Swiss wife, Lucia, settle in Georgetown next door to a couple whose émigré gatherings in their garden remind Lucia of all the things Americans are not. She leaves Alec as his career founders on his refusal of an assignment to cover the Vietnam War a slyly subversive fictional choice from Ward Just, who was himself a renowned war correspondent.
At the center of the novel is Alecs unforeseen reckoning with Lucias long-absent father, Andre Duran, a Czech living out the end of his life in a hostel called Goya House. Durans career as an adventurer and antifascist commando is everything Alecs is not. The encounter forces Alec to confront just how different a life where thingsterrible things, terrible things”happen is from a life where nothing much happens at all.
"Set mostly in Washington, it provides shrewd observations about that stiflingly self-centered capital and its public ways and private folkways....[Just] writes perceptively about the contrast between European and American values. Best of all is the epigrammatic quality his writing achieves" - Los Angeles Times
"Exiles in the Garden is [Just's] 16th novel and is, for my money, one of his three best, the others being "A Family Trust" (1978) and "An Unfinished Season" (2004)....he has a loyal following even in this difficult time for the book industry." - Washington Post
"cultured, beautifully controlled fiction....elegant" - Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The novel is fascinatingly readable and at the same time deeper than we expect....[Just] leaves us pondering that ageless question of where the personal becomes the political or if it is possible to maintain a distinction at all." - Miami Herald
"One cannot read the fiction of Ward Just without concluding that we are all expatriates, or, to crib from the title of his latest novel, that we are exiles in the garden of our lives." - Chicago Tribune "Master novelist Just continues his commanding inquiry into the complexities of inheritance, politics, bloodshed, art, fame, and fate, taking measure of the everlasting wounds of war and moral compromise. A virtuoso writer of graceful wit and offhanded gravitas, Just tells this elegant yet harrowing tale of the entanglement of the personal and the geopolitical in sentences infused with the tensile strength of suspension bridges spanning earthly fire and the dark tides of the psyche." - Booklist
"Just writes with confidence and authority as he works through larger themes of politics, history, war and historical judgment. This intellectually rigorous narrative is absorbing, timely and very Washington." - Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Ward Just's 16th novel offers further proof that, as much as any author working today, he writes for grownups. Exiles in the Garden is another of his intricate, intellectually challenging character studies that trades flashy action for a psychologically astute investigation into the deepest recesses of public and private morality....Ward Just began his career as a journalist and that training is evident in his keen eye for detail and his ability to penetrate to the essence of his subjects' lives. In characteristic meditative style, he reveals how the choices of his flawed, complex characters resonate down through the decades. His latest novel is one more brick in an edifice of work that someday should be read by historians looking for insight into the world of modern American politics and contemporary statecraft." - Shelf Awareness
"One of the most astute writers of American fiction" (New York Times Book Review) delivers the resonant story of Alec Malone, a senators son who rejects the family business of politics for a career as a newspaper photographer.
About the Author
WARD JUST's seventeen previous novels include Exiles in the Garden, Forgetfulness, the National Book Award finalist Echo House, A Dangerous Friend, winner of the Cooper Prize for fiction from the Society of American Historians, and An Unfinished Season, winner of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award and a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize.