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The day a man's daughter is to be married is not the best day for someone to rob the bank he manages, but such are the circumstances in this literary debut.

Paul is a bank manager in an unnamed Pacific Northwest city, and DeWeese renders him as oddly disaffected and detached. Paul is divorced, but he's comfortable with his former wife, Sandra, and her new husband, at least until their 26-year-old daughter, Miranda, decides to marry Paul's best friend and contemporary, Grant. Now Paul is in debt to pay for a wedding he doesn't want to happen. The book chronicles that fateful wedding day, which is complicated by the robbery by the same bandit who held up the bank during Paul's first days on the job. Worse, Miranda has disappeared, and Paul sets out on a confused search to find her. Using first person and flashbacks to reveal seminal events, the author dissects Paul's life, beginning with his boyhood as the only child of a distracted single mother. Readers learn of Paul's courtship; watch as he relies on Grant for social and personal guidance; and empathize as he struggles with fatherhood. Paul is distanced and yet caring, alienated and yet self-aware, living as if he cannot reach those he loves most. At 49, he has become a curious mixture of melancholic acceptance and ironic appreciation. DeWeese deftly uses dialogue to reveal character, not only for Paul but also for Grant, Miranda and Sandra. He also brings to life minor characters such as Gina, who was Paul's sexual mentor during college, then Grant's one-time lover, and finally Miranda's employer. Another likable character is Catherine, an assistant at Paul's bank, who serves as a perfect foil to reveal Paul's loneliness.

Life, both mundane and off-kilter, is revealed in this fine novel about a man who may not be as lost as he thinks.


Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-199232-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2010