Synopses & Reviews
"Beautifully written.... Gates [has a] pitch-perfect ear for contemporary speech...and...[a] keen, journalistic eye."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
In this comic, fiercely compassionate novel, David Gates, whose first novel Jernigan was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, sends his protagonist on a visceral journey to the dark side of suburban masculinity, explores the claims youth makes on middle age, and the tenacious --at times perverse--power of love to assert itself.
When Doug Willis has a mid-life crisis, he doesn't join a gym or have an affair. Instead he gets himself arrested while camping with his wife and kids, takes a two month leave of absence from his PR job, and retreats to his farmhouse in rural Preston Falls--where he plugs in his guitar and tries to shut out his life.
While his wife, Jean, struggles to pay the bills and raise their sullen, skeptical kids, Willis's plans for hiatus crumble into Dewars-and-cocaine fueled disarray. A shattered window, an unguarded gun, and a shady small town attorney force a crisis--and Willis can't go home again. With its biting humor and harsh realism, Preston Falls confirms David Gates as a talent in the tradition of Russell Banks and Richard Ford: a master of dark truths and private longings.
"Preston Falls is the grimly and grippingly funny dissection of a disintegrating personality and a marriage. When we first meet Willis, he's a successful New York public relations executive with a Westchester marriage and two kids. He also possesses, or is possessed by a suspiciously ramshackle country house in upstate Preston Falls and a truck to match. Willis' infatuation with rural dilapidation presages his descent into hell—a downward path blazed with vividly doomed and demonic characters. This long-awaited second novel by the celebrated author of Jernigan reads as though Flaubert recast a theme by Dostoyevsky and dipped it briefly in an acid bath of Beckett. Gates effortlessly braids together the ironic, the tragic, and the hilarious." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
About the Author
David Gates lives in New York City and in a small town in upstate New York.