The Full Catastrophe

The Full Catastrophe

5.0 1
by David Carkeet
     
 

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Linguist Jeremy Cook knows how language works, but he doesn't know how marriage works.
Linguist Jeremy Cook knows how language works, but he doesn't know how marriage works. In fact, he is strangely hostile to the institution. So Cook is naturally uneasy about his job with the Pillow Agency, a St. Louis firm specializing in "the linguistically troubled marriage.

Overview

Linguist Jeremy Cook knows how language works, but he doesn't know how marriage works.
Linguist Jeremy Cook knows how language works, but he doesn't know how marriage works. In fact, he is strangely hostile to the institution. So Cook is naturally uneasy about his job with the Pillow Agency, a St. Louis firm specializing in "the linguistically troubled marriage." His assignment is to move in with Dan and Beth Wilson, a prosperous suburban couple with an impoverished relationship, to analyze their verbal problems and help them-if he can. As Cook catalogs the Wilsons' missed signs and missed signals, he becomes increasingly, most unscientifically, involved.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Flaky, amiable Jeremy Cook, the linguist Carkeet introduced in Double Negative , leaves the ivied halls of academe for the closer confines of a suburban home in this wrenching yet often exhilarating examination of a troubled modern marriage. When the Wabash Institute in Indiana folds for lack of funding, Jeremy slips into a job in Saint Louis, Mo., with the Pillow Agency, a zany marriage-counseling service. His assignment is to move in with Beth and Dan Wilson and, by observing their interactions, help them decide if their marriage can be saved. Jeremy insinuates himself into the Wilsons' daily activities. His relationship with the couple and their game 10-year-old Robbie is at once intimate and distant, definitely a seat-of-the-pants proposition, but his training as a linguist serves him, and probably the Wilsons, well. Carkeet's premise is fresh, his characters utterly winning and his comic observations full of affection for those caught up in the complex confusions of love. Laugh-out-loud scenes and swift, convincing dialogue mark this lunatic look at serious issues; the conclusion may be irresolute, but all the more believable for that. Literary Guild alternate. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Unemployed linguist Jeremy Cook heads west to St. Louis for a well-paid job with the philanthropic Pillow Agency as a live-in observer of a troubled marriage. Dan and Beth Wilson, and their ten-year-old son Robbie, are middle-class middle Americans on the edge of destruction. Lack of communication, good intentions gone wrong, and bullheadedness are among the commonplace but damning marital difficulties Jeremy faces. A bachelor and an academic, Jeremy would appear eminently unsuited to the task of helping to save the marriage. In the end, Jeremy and the novel itself prove full of small surprises. The author's second novel featuring Jeremy Cook (the first was Double Negative), this is wickedly funny, deeply compassionate, and highly readable. An excellent choice for most academic and public libraries. Literary Guild alternate.--James B. Hemesath, Adams State Coll. Lib., Alamosa, Col.
From the Publisher
"A comic chronicle of marital misunderstandings. . . eccentric, hilarious, wildly inventive and eerily accurate. . . Read this terrific book." -The Los Angeles Times

"With humor and insight, Mr. Carkeet's fourth novel addresses the commonest of social diseases-a failing marriage-with the least likely of therapies: a live-in linguist."-The New York Times Book Review

"A feat of literary magic. . . a trove of insights about the way we live and love and bump our heads trying, sweetened by some of the funniest writing since Mark Twain." -Jonathan Kellerman

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671732455
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Publication date:
04/08/1991
Series:
Jeremy Cook Series
Pages:
324
Product dimensions:
5.33(w) x 8.19(h) x 0.98(d)

Meet the Author

David Carkeet is the author of five novels, including three New York Times Notable Books. His honors include an Edgar nomination, an O. Henry Award, an NEA Fellowship, and the AWP Creative Nonfiction Award. He lived in St. Louis for thirty years with his wife and three daughters. He currently lives in Worcester, Vermont.

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The Full Catastrophe 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone who is married or wants to be married should read this book . Anyone with a sense of humor, that is.