Innocence

Overview

A beautifully written book set in Marin County, Innocence is a philosophical novel that follows John Gegenuber, a former Episcopal priest who has given up his parish and vocation to become a real estate agent. After having corrective surgery for a cleft palate, John has been invited to go on a romantic weekend trip to a secluded country estate with Thalia, a young woman who has undergone the same cosmetic surgery.

Their transformational weekend together is tested in the sudden ...

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Innocence: A Novel

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Overview

A beautifully written book set in Marin County, Innocence is a philosophical novel that follows John Gegenuber, a former Episcopal priest who has given up his parish and vocation to become a real estate agent. After having corrective surgery for a cleft palate, John has been invited to go on a romantic weekend trip to a secluded country estate with Thalia, a young woman who has undergone the same cosmetic surgery.

Their transformational weekend together is tested in the sudden and premature labor of a young pregnant woman who lives at the estate. Stranded with only common sense to guide them, faith and instinct become paramount for the mother and her newborn.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jones (Particles of Luck) proves himself to be dexterous at both comedy and suspense in this story of the sexual awakening of a somewhat peculiar middle-aged man and the intimate, amateur surgery he undertakes late in the novel. Plastic surgery, sex, real estate, and religion are the chief preoccupations of John Gegenuber, a former minister living in Marin County, Calif. John, who recently underwent surgery for a cleft palate, is in timid acquiescence of the romantic overtures of Thalia, a fellow patient of John’s plastic surgeon. Doctor Auctor has dubious qualifications but a high success rate, and he remains omnipresent though physically absent throughout the novel. The novel opens with a suggestive phone call from Thalia, summoning John on a romantic weekend getaway in Napa. A real estate deal John is presiding over for an elderly client and Thalia’s prior obligation to a busload of developmentally disabled adults intrude on their sweetly fumbling courtship. John and Thalia, with their physical flaws now cosmetically hidden, spend their weekend away learning about one another’s less obvious deficiencies in the midst of their professional obligations. Tender, funny, and sometimes grotesque, this novel is both challenging and eminently readable. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Innocence

"Confronting issues of identity, compassion, desire, and redemption, Jones’ sublimely contemplative novel vibrates with a subtle current of menace and foreboding."—Booklist

"A characteristically quirky fourth novel from Jones.... Body and soul get equal consideration in a novel that confounds expectations of what will be revealed and concealed; perverse, perhaps, but undeniably piquant." —Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A characteristically quirky fourth novel from Jones (Radiance, 2011, etc.) explores how plastic surgery propels a middle-aged minister-turned-realtor into losing his virginity and contemplating marriage. John Gegenuber had a harelip. But now, at 49, he's had the disfigurement corrected and has made a new friend in his Recovery Group. Thalia Kunst, some 20 years his junior, also had a lip problem, but now, she's been released into beauty. After a chaste kiss, Thalia makes a reservation for them at a fancy hotel, boldness overcoming her natural modesty. This is happening in Marin County, Calif., home of hot tubs, pricey real estate and apparently magical hookups. John, a realtor, used to be an Episcopalian minister until he tired of church showbiz, though his faith is still intact. Thalia is a horticultural therapist, using mentally challenged adults as landscape gardeners. Their plastic surgeon happens to be one of her clients; John joins her and her charges on a trip to the doctor's estate after the two have spent their big night together. No details are forthcoming, other than that their lovemaking did not include birth control measures. Their life as a married couple seems a foregone conclusion. John frequently pauses in his dryly humorous account to share his thoughts on religion, real estate and their affinities, so we're kept off balance, and the author delights in curveballs, such as an imminent childbirth. Francesca, one of Thalia's flock, goes into labor on the surgeon's estate. A cesarean is required. The doctor, in Europe, will walk them through the procedure on the phone. John must switch between the ordeal of cutting and handling a home-sale problem on his cellphone. This would be surreal if Jones' portrayal of the operation, the attitudes of the mentally handicapped bystanders and the machinations of rival realtors was not so exceptionally convincing; only a satisfying conclusion eludes him. Body and soul get equal consideration in a novel that confounds expectations of what will be revealed and concealed; perverse, perhaps, but undeniably piquant.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781619020665
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis B. Jones is the author of the novels Ordinary Money, Particles and Luck, and California's Over, all New York Times Notable Books, and most recently the novels Radiance and Innocence, both published by Counterpoint.

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