By Jonathan Dee
For readers of Jonathan Franzen and Richard Russo, Jonathan Dee’s novels are masterful works of literary fiction. during this sharply saw story of self-invention and public scandal, Dee increases a trenchant query: what can we actually need after we ask for forgiveness?
as soon as a privileged and loving couple, the Armsteads have now reached a brink. Ben, a accomplice in a prestigious legislation company, has develop into unpredictable at paintings and withdrawn at home—a switch that weighs seriously on his spouse, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. Then, in a single afternoon, Ben’s recklessness takes an alarming flip, and every thing the Armsteads have outfitted jointly unravels, quickly and spectacularly.
push back into the operating global, Helen reveals a task in public relatives and relocates with Sara from their domestic in upstate big apple to an condo in big apple. There, Helen discovers she has an extraordinary reward, quintessential on this planet of picture keep an eye on: she will be able to persuade smug males to confess their blunders, spinning crises into moment possibilities. but redemption is extra simply granted in her specialist lifestyles than in her own one.
As she is faced with the largest case of her profession, the fallout from her marriage, and Sara’s more and more far away habit, Helen needs to face the bounds of responsibility and her personal ability for forgiveness.
Praise for A Thousand Pardons
“A Thousand Pardons is that infrequent factor: a real literary mystery. Eerily suspenseful and choked with dramatic occasion, it additionally bargains a trenchant, hilarious portrait of our collective eager for authenticity in those overmediated times.”—Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer of A stopover at from the Goon Squad
“A web page turner with out sacrificing a smidgen of mental perception. What a triumph.”—Kirkus stories (starred review)
“Dee is adept at meshing the complexities of marriage and relations lifestyles with the paradoxes of the zeitgeist. In his 6th meticulously lathed and magnetizing novel, he riffs at the perform of problem administration [and] the absurdities of a society geared to speak in one thousand digital modes whereas these closest to one another can slightly make eye contact.”—Booklist
“[A] fast-moving, continually enjoyable tale . . . a sensible, witty examine the rites of apology in modern America.”—Shelf wisdom
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Additional info for A Thousand Pardons: A Novel
Dinah’s preaching disrupts religious practice and is the greater point of concern for the community, but it is her mobility that is cast as the transgressive behaviour in the individual critiques levelled against her. The gendered dynamics of mobility structure the narrative of Hetty Sorrel, the young dairymaid who falls in love with Arthur Donnithorne, the heir to the estate on which the family farm is located. 33 It is in these outdoor meetings that their Walking the Connected Nation 35 relationship is presumed to be consummated in the hermitage, following which two journeys operate as symbolic punishment for Hetty’s transgressive behaviour in walking out: first the long, physically arduous walk of Hetty from the Midlands to Windsor and back again, during which time she gives birth to her illegitimate child, and secondly, the transportation of Hetty to Australia as punishment for the infanticide of which she is accused.
126). At other times, the travellers become part of a community of wanderers ‘all wending their way in the same direction’ (p. 141): as they near the races, they pass ‘numerous groups of gipsies and trampers on the road, wending their way towards it, and straggling out from every by-way and cross-country lane, they gradually fell into a stream of people […] all tending to the same point’ (p. 153). These encounters serve to create the walk as a space of positive community formation. Although the characters they meet are, for the most part, neither especially admirable or virtuous figures – the misanthrope Codlin being an example – these positive social interactions emphasise the importance of individual connection between people: time and again, Nell and her grandfather are helped on their way by those who offer the smallest of comforts that reiterate the essential goodness of humanity.
As female novelist, Eliot was restricted as to the extent to which pregnancy (and especially that of a fallen woman) could be represented while maintaining her own respectability; even these concealed remarks were a step too far for one reviewer, who felt ‘threatened with a literature of pregnancy’, stating that ‘Hetty’s feelings and changes are indicated with a punctual sequence that makes the account of her misfortunes read like the rough notes of a man-midwife’s conversations with a bride. 34 The weariness of the journey serves as symbolic articulation of the physical toil of pregnancy and labour which must otherwise be silenced, enabling Eliot to subtly elicit sympathy for the plight of the fallen woman without danger to her own reputation.
A Thousand Pardons: A Novel by Jonathan Dee