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The Measures Between Us
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The Measures Between Us

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by Ethan Hauser
 

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Jack is an intern for the university's flood study. Transcribing interviews with people who live along a threatened and threatening river, he listens to their answers to questions about environmental change and their emotional investment in the waterway.

Lately, Jack has questions for Cynthia. They've become close, reuniting years after high school, but now she's

Overview

Jack is an intern for the university's flood study. Transcribing interviews with people who live along a threatened and threatening river, he listens to their answers to questions about environmental change and their emotional investment in the waterway.

Lately, Jack has questions for Cynthia. They've become close, reuniting years after high school, but now she's distancing herself again, sinking into depression. Her parents have noticed, too, calling on the only professional they know: Henry, a psychology professor who was once a student in her father's middle school shop class. Henry wants to help, but he is also dealing with a household in jeopardy: there's a stubborn wedge between him and his pregnant wife.

By turns sweeping and intimate, The Measures Between Us is about the shifting covenants we make with ourselves and with the ones we love, about the distances we keep and those we're bent on erasing.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The Measures Between Us connects disparate characters . . . in a kaleidoscopic fashion. The refractions of these tangential relationships make for a novel that surprises and that illuminates the bonds of common experience. This deeply affecting debut novel is full of hope.” —Chicago Tribune (Editors' Choice)

“Hauser relies on beautiful prose and sensitive characterization instead of easy gimmicks . . . A-.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Elegantly crafted . . . The swirling currents of these characters' personal tragedies connect them, but they render no easy answers.” —Daily Beast

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 esseence of a good read.” —Stephen King

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)
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781620405321
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
06/10/2014
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Ethan Hauser received his M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His fiction has been published in Esquire, Playboy, Ploughshares, New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 2005, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for 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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The Measures Between Us 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.