Annotations for Thousand Pardons


Findaway World Llc
For readers of Jonathan Franzen and Richard Russo, Jonathan Dee's novels are masterful works of literary fiction. In this sharply observed tale of self-invention and public scandal, Dee raises a trenchant question: what do we really want when we ask for forgiveness? Once a privileged and loving couple, the Armsteads have now reached a breaking point. Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home--a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. Then, in one afternoon, Ben's recklessness takes an alarming turn, and everything the Armsteads have built together unravels, swiftly and spectacularly. Thrust back into the working world, Helen finds a job in public relations and relocates with Sara from their home in upstate New York to an apartment in Manhattan. There, Helen discovers she has a rare gift, indispensable in the world of image control: She can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances. Yet redemption is more easily granted in her professional life than in her personal one. As she is confronted with the biggest case of her career, the fallout from her marriage, and Sara's increasingly distant behavior, Helen must face the limits of accountability and her own capacity for forgiveness. Praise for The Privileges Full of elegance, vitality and complexity . . . Dee is at once funny, subversive and sympathetic.--The New York Times Book Review Scintillating . . . Dee is a remarkably skilled portraitist.--The Washington Post Admirably relentless.--The New Yorker Transfixing . . . composed in Dee's typically elegant style--gorgeous winding sentences.--Los Angeles Times Pitch-perfect prose--a real delight for those who have all but given up on recent fiction . . . a riveting book about the new American family and the atomizing pressures of modern life.--Chicago Tribune Dee's book is so witty and savvy and adroit and basically humane--as well as breathtakingly intelligent--that it shines beyond all categories on its astonishing merits.--Richard Ford Dee's luminous prose never falters; he's a master.--Entertainment Weekly

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