Wallace Webster lives alone in Kemah, Texas at Forgetful Bay, a condo development where residents are passing away at an alarming rate. Read more...
Wallace Webster lives alone in Kemah, Texas at Forgetful Bay, a condo development where residents are passing away at an alarming rate. As he monitors events in the neighborhood, Wallace keeps in touch with his ex-wife, his grown daughter, a former coworker for whom he has much averted eyes, and a somewhat exotic resident with whom he commences an off-beat affair.
He sifts through the curious accidents that plague his neighbors, all the while reflecting on his past and shortening future. Required to reflect upon his own mortality, he wonders if "settling for" something less than he aspired to is a kind of cowardice, or just good sense.
Beneath the arresting repartee and the ever-present and often satisfying banality of our modern lives--from Google searches to real life mysteries on TV--lies Frederick Barthelme's affection for and curiosity about our human condition. THERE MUST BE SOME MISTAKE is warm and wry, beautifully written, and completely irresistible.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-08-04
- Reviewer: Staff
Barthelme, a master of minimalist suburbia-set fiction (Waveland), returns with a buoyantly offbeat murder tale that doubles as a meditation on everything from contemporary art to Google to mortality. The setting is Forgetful Bay, a condo development in Kemah, Tex., where 50-something Wallace Webster lives alone. His solitary existence is interrupted mainly by visits from Jilly, a younger former coworker of his, and Morgan, his college-age daughter from a failed marriage. Then, a slew of apparently accidental deaths strikes the neighborhood, along with a few other strange incidents—notably, a woman, Chantal White, being doused with Yves Klein blue paint in a guerilla-like attack. After Wallace begins an affair with Chantal, police investigators come to see him, but rather than feeling frightened, he finds their questions “oddly reassuring.... Like your life imitating television.” Throughout the novel, his narration provides punchy, wry commentary on the banality of pop culture, but the tone is, ultimately, infectiously optimistic. Taking inventory of his neighbors’ kitschy lawn statuary, Wallace considers getting a few gnomes or a Virgin Mary of his own. “I mean, why not? Where’s the harm in a little blind faith, a little hope in the face of the grotesque spectacle of ordinary life in this century?” Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Oct.)