DEAR WILL by Karl Ackerman


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The author of The Patron Saint of Unmarried Women (1994) chronicles the emotional coming of age of a 41-year-old

literary agent who overcomes his fear of commitment when the love child he fathered in his 20s searches him out.

Will Gerard’s childhood—in the 1960s Bangkok community of CIA spooks who made daily secret forays into

Vietnam—lacked permanent relationships. A best friend one day might disappear the next with his family on some clandestine

mission across the globe, never to be seen again. After this, and the trauma of his father’s early death, Will lived adult life as

though long-term attachments, either to jobs or to people, were unnecessary complications. Then, after years as a dilettante in

the publishing industry, he started a literary agency in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Working from home, with his

wisecracking, college-age nephew as his assistant, Will sees his life turn around when he signs a crackpot southern author whose

novel on a hero of the “war of northern aggression” sells for big money. After receiving a favorable profile in the pages of

The Washington Post, Will then meets Annie, a stunning and successful litigator, and his life seems perfect—except that what

Annie wants, a baby, is anathema to a commitment-probe guy like Will. Their relationship threatens to founder when a letter

arrives from a woman who suspects that Will is her birth father. His quest over a couple of weeks to determine the truth of her

suspicion leads him on a trail where he must contend with the consequences of his lifelong efforts to avoid entanglements and

opens his eyes about how he is sabotaging his chance at happiness with Annie.

An engaging and well-rounded look at a modern man as he comes to terms with his past so he can live a more fulfilled

present. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 4th, 2000
ISBN: 0-684-83953-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2000