The Measures Between Us

( 1 )

Overview

An unprecedented storm is threatening the East Coast, swelling the rivers and muddying the roads, and in a small suburb of Boston, a group of intimates and strangers struggles to confront a rapidly changing world. Vincent, a high school shop teacher, grapples with whether to hospitalize his only daughter. Jack, a research intern at a local college, tries to make sense of the world through the climate data he helps to gather. Henry, a young psychology professor, tests the bounds of his marriage, while Lucinda, his...

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The Measures Between Us

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Overview

An unprecedented storm is threatening the East Coast, swelling the rivers and muddying the roads, and in a small suburb of Boston, a group of intimates and strangers struggles to confront a rapidly changing world. Vincent, a high school shop teacher, grapples with whether to hospitalize his only daughter. Jack, a research intern at a local college, tries to make sense of the world through the climate data he helps to gather. Henry, a young psychology professor, tests the bounds of his marriage, while Lucinda, his pregnant wife, harbors her own secret. And at the heart of this soaring story, at the center of all of these characters, is Cynthia, a young woman uncertain of everything but her sadness.

The Measures Between Us delicately and powerfully traces the spider web of connections that bind us together and the void of mystery that lies beyond.It is an accounting and an affirmation of lives in consideration of their end-beautifully crafted and deeply moving.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
New York Times editor Hauser’s high-reaching, affecting debut novel chronicles three families in the Boston suburbs as they face personal crises. Vincent Pareto, a high school woodworking teacher, and his wife, Mary, care for their 22-year-old daughter, Cynthia, who has moved back home after breaking up with her boyfriend in California. The Paretos, worried about Cynthia’s depression, send her to a top-line psychiatric hospital on the advice of Dr. Henry Wheeling, a young psychologist teaching at Boston University and Vincent’s former student. In the meantime, Henry’s pregnant wife Lucinda, feeling “suffocated,” decides to visit an old college roommate in El Paso while Henry carries on an affair with Samantha Webster, one of his graduate students. Hope slowly begins to reenter these characters’ lives, with Cynthia, after leaving psychiatric care, being hired as a babysitter by Sam Newell—a single parent struggling to raise an autistic son, Brandon, after his wife Alice’s suicide. Mary happens to meets Alice’s father, Tom Slater, at church, and the two form a close but platonic bond. Cynthia’s battle with depression provides the multithreaded narrative’s most heart-wrenching scenes, while a torrential rainstorm provides a dramatic backdrop for the various storylines to play out. Agent: Eleanor Jackson, Markson Thoma Literary Agency. (July)
From the Publisher
“Bad weather as a manifestation of emotional turmoil is an old literary trick. But in his debut novel, The Measures Between Us, [Hauser] relies on beautiful prose and sensitive characterization instead of easy gimmicks. A-” —Entertainment Weekly

 

The Measures Between Us is a beautifully written and completely compelling story about the storms that flood towns and the ones that flood human lives. This is a novelistic debut of enormous accomplishment and even greater promise. It is the very essence of a good read.” – Stephen King

 

“[A] high-reaching, affecting debut.” —Publishers Weekly

 

“Hauser’s finely crafted first novel entwines the lives of various characters with their inner struggles. As the connections between these disparate elements are slowly revealed, Hauser’s characters find they can no longer ignore the truth, leading to moments of clarity that ring hauntingly true.” —Booklist

"While the world and weather carry on, indifferent to lives left in ruins, Ethan Hauser's network of people enact the many permutations of love—the difficulty of needing it, finding it, hanging onto it, and, perhaps most curious of all, avoiding it when it arrives inconveniently. In every way, this is a love story and beautifully faithful to rendering it whole." —Antonya Nelson, author of Bound

Kirkus Reviews
Journalist and short story author Hauser's debut novel. The book begins with a fateful meeting: Vincent Pareto, a wood-shop teacher in a Boston-area public school, is concerned about his daughter Cynthia's apparent depression and considering putting her in a mental hospital. For advice, he turns to Henry Wheeling, a former student who is now a psychologist. Henry advises, perhaps too casually, in favor of hospitalization. Thus begins the crumbling of two marriages and an ultimately tragic series of events. Vincent and his wife, Mary, are crippled by their love for Cynthia, which distances them as a couple and leads to some questionable decisions as parents. Vincent's self-doubt is compounded by the threat of a layoff from his school. Meanwhile, Henry has drifted into an affair with a student while his pregnant wife, Lucy, who is the book's most vividly drawn character, takes off to Texas in an attempt to sort out the distance she feels from her husband and unborn child. Like many first novels, this one tries to fit a little too much in. Some of its scenes, including an early one at a traveling circus, are beautifully written but shed no real light on the plot or characters. Worse, the sudden death of a major character happens offstage and is never fully explained. The obvious point is that the closest of intimates can never really know each other, but an unexplained death seems a mistake in a book that otherwise succeeds by examining the inner lives of its characters.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620401156
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 7/9/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 945,307
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Ethan Hauser received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His fiction has been published in Esquire, Playboy, New Stories From the South: The Year's Best, and elsewhere. He has held residencies at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and has won the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Short Story Award. Hauser lives in New York, and is an editor at The New York Times, where his journalism also appears.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    The book is awful - don't waste your money. Characters are just

    The book is awful - don't waste your money. Characters are just plain horrible and the premise that they are waiting out a terrible storm is just false. I found each of their marriages and relationships to be so meaningless and empty. If the goal was to show how modern lives are shallow, unhappy and filled with disappointment, then it's been met. I don't need a pollyanna approach but I am tired of reading about failed relationships that reflect such self centered people.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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