New from the author of the critically acclaimed The Privileges. A Thousand Pardons is an elegant, audacious, gripping and sharply observed novel about a marriage in ruins and a family in crisis; about the limits of self-invention and the seduction of self-destruction.
Helen's marriage falls asunder in a spectacularly humiliating, public manner. Thrust into a future that feels like a nightmare, she struggles to come to terms with her husband's crisis, her daughter's estrangement, and her own capacity for forgiveness and reinvention. Ben and Helen Armstead have reached breaking point. Once a privileged and loving couple, widely envied and respected, it takes just one afternoon - and a single act of recklessness - for Ben to deal the final blow, spectacularly demolishing everything they built together.
Separated from her husband, Helen and her teenage daughter Sara leave their family home for Manhattan, where Helen must build a new life for them both. There, Helen takes a job in PR - her first in many years. Thrust back into the working world, Helen discovers she has a rare gift: she can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances.
But the same forgiveness she nurtures so successfully in her professional life is far harder to apply to her personal one. Faced with the fallout from her own marriage - her daughter's increasingly distant behaviour - Helen must finally confront her own capacity for forgiveness.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
You'd think that a contemporary fable about public relations would have to be fairly hollow but this sharply observed satirical novel confounds expectations.
When Ben and Helen's marriage collapses, their life of privilege ends abruptly. Helen takes their teenage daughter Sara and heads to Manhattan to look for work. There she gets her first job in years in PR discovering that she has a rare gift for handling the trickiest clients, getting arrogant business types to admit their mistakes and apologise. But can she apply her principles of forgiveness to her wayward husband and increasingly distant daughter?
A playful take on self-invention, self-destruction and second chances.
About the Author
Jonathan Dee is the author of four novels, most recently Palladio. He is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, a frequent contributor to Harper's, and a former senior editor of The Paris Review. He teaches in the graduate writing programmes at Columbia University and The New School.
A Thousand Pardons is that rare thing: a genuine literary thriller. Eerily suspenseful and packed with dramatic event, it also offers a trenchant, hilarious portrait of our collective longing for authenticity in these over-mediated times. -- Jennifer Egan With his sixth novel, Pulitzer finalist Dee has written a page turner without sacrificing a smidgen of psychological insight. What a triumph. Kirkus (Starred Review)
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st September 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 13.5 x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.31
Edition Number: 1