Desperate Charactes

fox, paula

Verlag: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970
ISBN 10: 0333120728 / ISBN 13: 9780333120729
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"A towering landmark of postwar Realism. . . . A sustained work of prose so lucid and fine it seems less written than carved." ? David Foster Wallace

Otto and Sophie Bentwood live in a changing neighborhood in Brooklyn. Their stainless-steel kitchen is newly installed, and their Mercedes is parked curbside. After Sophie is bitten on the hand while trying to feed a stray, perhaps rabies-infected cat, a series of small and ominous disasters begin to plague the Bentwoods' lives, revealing the fault lines and fractures in a marriage?and a society?wrenching itself apart.

First published in 1970 to wide acclaim, Desperate Characters stands as one of the most dazzling and rigorous examples of the storyteller's craft in postwar American literature ? a novel that, according to Irving Howe, ranks with "Billy Budd, The Great Gatsby, Miss Lonelyhearts, and Seize the Day."

Rezension: Meet the Bentwoods, Sophie and Otto, "both just over forty," living in Brooklyn sometime in the '60s with neither hope nor children to encourage them to work on their suffocating marriage. Such are the central subjects of Paula Fox's enthralling Desperate Characters, first published to much acclaim in 1970. The novel's action unfolds in a single weekend, and includes Otto's torturous breakup with his longtime business partner, Charlie, and a visit the Bentwoods make to their country home, which they find vandalized. Everything pivots around an occurrence so ordinary as to make us marvel at the power it wields under Fox's brilliant pressure: a cat bite.

Despite Otto's protests, Sophie puts out a dish for a stray that roams the Bentwoods' neighborhood--an area which is also home to enormous poverty, and in which they, in their renovated townhouse, sit like distant royalty. The cat sinks its teeth into her hand and instantly we are plunged into the heart of what plagues every aspect of this couple's lives: the threat of rabies. Where the cat is concerned, it's literal rabies, but the book is also steeped in the sense that a kind of social rabies lurks just outside the Bentwoods' and indeed the whole world's door. As Sophie suddenly realizes at one point: "Ticking away inside the carapace of ordinary life and its sketchy agreements was anarchy."

Throughout Fox's gorgeously crafted, unflinching portrait of a dying marriage and a country at war with itself, the Bentwoods fight the desire to self-destruct like everything around them. At one point, Otto screams at Sophie: "What in God's name do you want? Do you want Charlie to murder me? Do you wish the farmhouse had been burned down?... Do you want to be rabid?" She doesn't, of course, but in a certain way, that outcome makes sense. "'God, if I am rabid, I am equal to what is outside,' she said out loud, and felt an extraordinary relief as though, at last, she'd discovered what it was that could create a balance between the quiet, rather vacant progression of the days she spent in this house, and those portents that lit up the dark at the edge of her own existence." How fortunate and rare to discover such a perfect articulation of the human condition. --Melanie Rehak

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Titel: Desperate Charactes
Verlag: Harcourt, Brace & World
Erscheinungsdatum: 1970
Zustand: very good

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fox, paula
Verlag: Harcourt, Brace & World (1970)
ISBN 10: 0333120728 ISBN 13: 9780333120729
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Buchbeschreibung Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970. Hardcover. Buchzustand: New. Buchnummer des Verkäufers P110333120728

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Buchbeschreibung Harcourt, Brace & World. Hardcover. Buchzustand: GOOD. Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 2543771314

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Buchbeschreibung Harcourt, Brace & World. Hardcover. Buchzustand: VERY GOOD. little to no wear, pages are clean. The cover and binding are crisp with next no creases. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 2738123599

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Buchbeschreibung Harcourt, Brace & World. Hardcover. Buchzustand: VERY GOOD. Cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage. May have creases on the cover and binding caused from handling and reading. Some pages may contain writing and or highlighting. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 2749299035

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Buchbeschreibung Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970. Hardcover. Buchzustand: New. book. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 333120728

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