By Paula Fox
"A towering landmark of postwar Realism. . . . A sustained paintings of prose so lucid and positive it sort of feels much less written than carved." - David Foster Wallace
Otto and Sophie Bentwood dwell childless in a renovated Brooklyn brownstone. the entire works of Goethe line their bookshelf, their chrome steel kitchen is newly put in, and their Mercedes is parked curbside. yet after Sophie is bitten at the hand whereas attempting to feed a half-starved local cat, a chain of small and ominous mess ups start to plague their lives. The fault strains in their marriage are published - echoing the fractures of society round them, slowly wrenching itself aside. First released in 1970 to vast acclaim, Desperate Characters stands as some of the most amazing and rigorous examples of the storyteller's craft in postwar American literature - a singular that, in accordance with Irving Howe, ranks with "Billy Budd, the good Gatsby, omit Lonelyhearts, and Seize the Day."
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Additional info for Desperate Characters: A Novel
But he lost the other man. He didn't charge them straight away, as he ought to have done. I think he was genuinely startled and could scarcely believe his eyes. " said Conway, and put his glass down, and folded his hands on his knee. E. M. Forster- 21 "He caught sight of them as they were getting up after committing the indecency, also he saw money pass, but instead of rushing in there and then he made an elaborate and totally unnecessary plan for interrupting the youth on the further side of my house, and of course he could have got him any time, any time.
He was marvellous. I adored him. He was an absolute genius at comedy parts. " After a time, Sally had got crowd-work in films, and finally a small part in a touring company. Then she had met Diana. " I asked. "Heaven knows. This job at the Lady Windermere only lasts another week. I got it through a man I met at the Eden Bar. But he's gone off to Vienna now. I must ring up the Ufa people again, I suppose.
Hay harvest was to begin as soon as it settled. There were only two fields to be mown this year, to provide just enough stuff to last until the spring. As my vacation had begun, I decided I would help, and that we three, the father, George, and I, would get in the hay without hired assistance. I rose the first morning very early, before the sun was well up. The clear sound of challenging cocks could be heard along the valley. In the bottoms, over the water and over the lush wet grass, the night mist still stood white and substantial.
Desperate Characters: A Novel by Paula Fox