From the Publisher
“[Lewis’s] marvelous ear for idiomatic speech is revealed as much through narration as in dialog. . . . Ultimately, public libraries should have the entire quartet in their collections.”
Los Angeles Times
“Lewis catches the thrill of proximity to America’s eastern WASP aristocracy to an uncomfortable degree: their studied vagueness, their heartiness, the aloofness that cannot be copied.”
The Plain Dealer
“ . . . an insightful and even beautiful writer . . .”
Portland Press Herald
“ . . . a writer with consummate skill . . . ”
Lewis is a master of the subtle interplay of coincidence and character, the light tripping of events that lead to a disaster that seems at once inevitable and yet shocking. And he chronicles Adam's burdened spirit with such insight that you can't help but be moved no matter what your tax bracket. He also has a good ear for the patter at the general store, the background commentary that helps us understand the history of these Mainers and their conflicted attitude about the gilded newcomers who have revived and altered the local economy so dramatically. He doesn't condescend to the locals' homespun banter or romanticize their flinty wisdom.
The Washington Post
Lewis's gripping fourth novel (after Theme Song for an Old Show) traces one man's heroic but flawed attempt to make good of past mistakes. In the summer town of Clement Cove, Maine, billionaire Adam Bloch, now in his 50s, returns to build an outsized mansion with his new wife, Maisie Maclaren, a prominent local family's divorced daughter. Bloch still smolders from the shame of having been involved decades ago in the car accident that killed Maisie's sister, Sascha-an event not forgotten or quite forgiven by the locals, among whom is the narrator, an interested observer. While Bloch adores Maisie and hopes his new marriage will provide "the antidote to tragedy," Maisie's feelings for Bloch seem lukewarm, and her desire for a pool at the mansion pits them against longtime resident Verna Hubbard, who doesn't want to sell her adjoining spit of land and trailer to Bloch. Lewis juxtaposes the opinions of the locals at the general store as a kind of Greek chorus while the struggle between rich and poor plays out. The narrative is tense, and Lewis's well-meaning, blinkered hero is a marvelous creation. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Disasters bookend this slim story, the last in a quartet of loosely linked novels (Meritocracy, 2004, etc.) from TV and movie scriptwriter Lewis. The setting is coastal Maine. The small community of Clement's Cove is made up of year-rounders and summer people from "away." The year-rounders, like Thomas Hardy's rustics, gather in the general store to comment on the action, which begins with a fabulous wedding paid for by the groom, Adam Bloch, a Jew among the WASPs. Back in 1966, Adam was the driver in an accident that killed a beautiful young woman, Sascha Maclaren; he hasn't felt human since, though he has gone on to amass an extraordinary fortune. Blind chance tugs Lewis's characters this way and that, and a happenstance meeting in Manhattan between the lonely bachelor billionaire and Sascha's beautiful sister Maisie leads to their marriage (both are now in their 50s). The story revolves round two couples: Diffident Adam and capricious Maisie, and the year-rounders Verna, who cleans houses, and her shiftless boyfriend Roy, who doesn't do much of anything. Adam has built a magnificent house for his bride and her two little girls (Chinese, adopted). Maisie needs a lap pool. Verna possesses the last piece of soft ground in this rocky terrain, ideal for Maisie's pool; but Verna won't sell. Resisting the conventional story line (new money rides roughshod over the old timers), Lewis has Adam, the good neighbor, back off; but his perfect manners are no match for life's vicissitudes, and in a second disaster, the house burns to the ground. We learn this at the outset, but Lewis cunningly conceals the circumstances, to provide a gripping climax. In between he looks glancingly at the trickinessof relationships, the attachment to ancestral land and the unfair distribution of guilt. He does justice to both social groups, and he is helped immeasurably by a pitch-perfect ear. Quirky, rueful and wise.