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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Charles Baxter's follow-up to his National Book Awardnominated The Feast of Love is a quirky, thoughtful tale of a young couple whose complex marriage suffers through a series of tragic events after an obsessed teenager infiltrates their lives. The titular pair, Saul and Patsy, live out a simple dream life in the American heartland, until one of Saul's high school students commits suicide in front of them. Following that death, Saul becomes the focus of a group of disaffected teenage outcasts set on causing trouble.
A craftsman with the keen ability to transform the everyday into the exceptional, Baxter takes flawed, haunted characters and turns their dilemmas into electrifying, emotionally wrought drama. The author is skillful and evenhanded enough to delve into the customary questions concerning marriage, fealty, and obligations to one's neighbors; and yet he avoids the predictable narrative traps and clichés.
Saul and Patsy is sardonic and occasionally chilling in its depiction of madness and misfortune, but the novel is so well layered with wit and irony that it always remains a balanced, insightful tale of enduring love. Baxter is highly accomplished where disturbing twists, conflicts, and internal action are the essence of the human condition. Perceptive and involving, Saul and Patsy is a fascinating, satisfying saga you'll forever cherish. Tom Piccirilli