A man and woman carry out an unusual courtship through a series of letters that gradually strip away their facades. A husband and wife argue about an infidelity that may never have happened. A liaison that hinges on a lost car ends before it begins when dreams influence reality. And a man confronts the specters of his failed relationships in the mysterious The Pavilion of Former Wives. In 14 thematically linked stories, Jonathan Baumbach explores the sour and bitter sweetness of relationships just beginning and already over, and the frailty that love makes of us.
PRAISE FOR JONATHAN BAUMBACH
"Jonathan Baumbach is one of the great, soulful toilers in the field of American literary writing. I have been moved by his work, by his good humor, and by his generosity in the world of letters, for three decades now, and I could not have arrived at my own model of how to get along, had I not had his model before me.”
"If Jonathan Baumbach were dead and gone — or still around, but fallen silent — he'd be prime subject for a revival, and we'd have another Don Carpenter or Renata Adler or John Williams situation on our hands. Instead he has made things more interesting by sticking around persisting in creating something new — so, the revival party will have to wait. We're lucky to have a sensibility as keen and vibrant, full of insight and wild emotional force, still raging on our behalf.”
"Jonathan Baumbach has been a hero of mine since I started writing. I was then, and remain today, avid for novelists who push the limits of the novel's form without sacrificing its traditional human juices. Baumbach is just such a writer.”
"Jonathan Baumbach is the master of sardonic compassion. He has always taken an odd, idiosyncratic angle to the dominant culture, has gone his own way regardless of the attention or inattention paid him. I think of him as a half-American, half-European writer with a strongly conceptual, formal imagination and a good deal of worldly wisdom, not to mention wry humor. I look forward to every new book by him."
"Few writers have captured the ambiguities of modern woman as richly as Baumbach.”
"Baumbach has a real gift for alchemizing fictional 'autobiography' into the pure gold of comic terror. He draws his inspiration from the same shell-shocked urban experiences that nourished the paranoid monologues of Lenny Bruce.”
"Baumbach is an amazing writer; his prose has the intensity and resonance of good poetry.”
"Shades of Bellow and Roth.”
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