Desperate Characters: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

"A towering landmark of postwar Realism. . . . A sustained work of prose so lucid and fine it seems less written than carved." — David Foster Wallace


Otto and Sophie Bentwood live childless in a renovated Brooklyn brownstone. The complete works of Goethe line their bookshelf, their stainless-steel kitchen is newly installed, and their Mercedes is parked curbside. But after Sophie is bitten on the hand while trying to feed a half-starved neighborhood cat, a series of small and ominous disasters begin to plague ...

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Desperate Characters: A Novel

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Overview

"A towering landmark of postwar Realism. . . . A sustained work of prose so lucid and fine it seems less written than carved." — David Foster Wallace


Otto and Sophie Bentwood live childless in a renovated Brooklyn brownstone. The complete works of Goethe line their bookshelf, their stainless-steel kitchen is newly installed, and their Mercedes is parked curbside. But after Sophie is bitten on the hand while trying to feed a half-starved neighborhood cat, a series of small and ominous disasters begin to plague their lives. The fault lines of their marriage are revealed — echoing the fractures of society around them, slowly wrenching itself apart. First published in 1970 to wide acclaim, Desperate Characters stands as one of the most dazzling and rigorous examples of the storyteller's craft in postwar American literature — a novel that, according to Irving Howe, ranks with "Billy Budd, The Great Gatsby, Miss Lonelyhearts, and Seize the Day."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393342123
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/6/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 181,882
  • File size: 469 KB

Meet the Author

Paula Fox
Paula Fox is the author of Desperate Characters, The Widow’s Children, A Servant’s Tale, The God of Nightmares, Poor George, The Western Coast, and Borrowed Finery: A Memoir, among other books. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Biography

Paula Fox is the author of one previous memoir, Borrowed Finery, and six novels, including Desperate Characters, The Widow's Children, and Poor George. She is also a Newbery Award–winning children's book author. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Author biography courtesy of Henry Holt and Company.

Good To Know

In our interview, Fox shared some fun facts about herself:

"My first job was working in a dress shop in Los Angeles in 1940, for $7 a week."

"I like to cook; it is, for me, a happy combination of mindlessness and purpose."

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    1. Hometown:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 22, 1923
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Attended Columbia University

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2003

    They Didn't Have it All!

    Sophie and Otto living in a childless, closely entwined -- loving yet passionless relationship are caught up in the New York City of the seventies. The flower children and hippies are receding into the colorful past while the age of gentrifciation emerges. Sophie in an act of kindness to an ugly stray cat, is bitten and the spectre of rabies begins to plague her. The fear of painful injections and the unwillingness to deal with the reality of her situation results in Sophie's depressive reassessment of her past life -- her failed relationships and the current state of her marriage. Otto is confronting the breakup with his long term business partner and is also driven to reevaluating the importance and true nature of intimacy and mutual dependency. The city with it's mixture of poverty and affluence -- side by side -- in the new era of slum resettlement is the backdrop for the lives of sometimes desperate people but all of them ever so human.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Really?

    The introduction takes up the whole sample book. It's the author I want to sample not you.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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