The author of Please Don't Come Back from the Moon and My American Unhappiness delivers his breakout novel: a deft and hilarious exploration of the simmering tensions beneath the surface of a contented marriage which explode in the bedrooms and backyards of a small town over the course of a long, hot summer.Read more...
The author of Please Don't Come Back from the Moon and My American Unhappiness delivers his breakout novel: a deft and hilarious exploration of the simmering tensions beneath the surface of a contented marriage which explode in the bedrooms and backyards of a small town over the course of a long, hot summer.
In the sweltering heat of one summer in a small Midwestern town, Claire and Don Lowry discover that married life isn't quite as they'd predicted.
One night Don, a father of three, leaves his house for an evening stroll, only to wake up the next morning stoned, and sleeping in a hammock next to a young woman he barely knows. His wife, Claire, leaves the house on this same night to go on a midnight run--only to find herself bumming cigarettes and beer outside the all-night convenience store.
As the summer lingers and the temperature rises, this quotidian town's adults grow wilder and more reckless while their children grow increasingly confused. Claire, Don, and their neighbors and friends find themselves on an existential odyssey, exploring the most puzzling quandaries of marriage and maturity. When does a fantasy become infidelity? When does compromise become resentment? When does routine become boring monotony? Can Claire and Don survive everything that befalls them in this one summer, forgive their mistakes, and begin again?
Award-winning writer Dean Bakopoulos delivers a brutally honest and incredibly funny novel about the strange and tenuous ties that bind us, and the strange and unlikely places we find connection. Full of mirth, melancholy, and redemption, Summerlong explores what happens when life goes awry.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-04-20
- Reviewer: Staff
Bakopoulos (Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon) trades in urban angst for smalltown discontent in this novel, which begins on a late-spring evening in Grinnell, Iowa, when married father of two, Don Lowry, comes across sexy and suicidal Amelia Benitez Cooper (called ABC); meanwhile, his wife, Claire, a one-time novelist, meets itinerant actor Charlie Gulliver. Recent returnees to Grinnell, ABC is mourning the death of her lover, Philly, and Charlie is going through his mentally incapacitated father’s papers to find the novel he once wrote. ABC was one of the elder Gulliver’s favorite students. As the summer temperature rises, the Lowrys decide to separate. Claire and the kids move in with Charlie, and Don moves in with ABC and the elderly woman she cares for, Ruth Manetti. In a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage, Don suggests to Claire that they go through with their annual family vacation at a friend’s cabin on a lake in Northern Minnesota. Charlie, ABC, and Ruth are also along for the ride, as the story becomes a kind of American middle-class homage to Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night. Although the ghosts of Cheever and Updike hover overhead, Bakopoulos is very much his own writer, and it is his distinct humanity and sense of humor that make this story so emotionally rewarding. This is that rare, contemporary suburban novel with characters the reader can actually embrace in spite of their many flaws. (June)