The author of four previous novels, Jonathan Dee raised both his critical and popular profile with this family saga of lives that seem a little too perfect on the surface, yet continue to surprise and engage reader empathy as the novel unfolds, subverting conventional values, morals and the sense of karmic justice in the process. The opening wedding of Adam and Cynthia Morey achieves such set-piece perfection that the reader can only assume that they are heading for a spectacular fall, particularly as they achieve far greater wealth through questionable means. Yet Dee never settles for a conventional morality play, and his ability to get inside the skin of his characters with such detailed precision offers a multilayered richness that transcends mundane predictability. “They’re certainly morally compromised, but it would be hard to build an interesting novel around anyone who wasn’t, don’t you think?” says Dee. “As their author, I tried to push past the point of sympathizing or not sympathizing with them. The goal was to be them, to make the imaginative effort to see as they see, and maybe by doing so nudge the reader into that same sort of intimacy, that same sort of experiment in selfhood.”
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Random House / January / 9781400068678; 9780812980790 / $25.00; $15.00 paperback
This book was featured in the Kirkus Best of 2010