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Set amidst the tatters of post-Katrina Gulf Coast Mississippi, Waveland is a brilliantly observed portrait of our times from one of the most incisive novelists at work today.
Partially retired architect Vaughn Williams does what he can to remain "viable." Battling the doldrums of midlife, he teaches an occasional class, reads the newspapers, scours the Internet, and thinks obsessively about his late father. When his ex-wife seeks refuge from her hotheaded boyfriend, Vaughn and his girlfriend, Greta, agree to let her move in, perhaps a little too cavalierly. Add in Vaughan’s annoyingly successful younger brother, who carries a torch for Vaughn’s ex-wife, and lingering suspicions about Greta’s involvement in her husband’s murder and the result is an emotionally resonant tale of mortality, love, regret, and redemption that only Barthelme could unwind.
"Frederick Barthelme is a master." —The New York Times
"Sublime. . . . Barthelme seems to argue, we might still find a separate peace from the terrors of the wider world." —Esquire
“Sophisticated, and wry. . . . A triumph of meaning—and writing. . . . A treasure of a book.” —Buffalo News
“It’s impossible to conceive of any writer doing what he does any better than he does it.” —Margaret Atwood, The New York Times Book Review
“As clever and precise as a French farce; except that instead of doors opening sharply on one side and slamming shut on the other, these dangle indecisively ajar.” —The Boston Globe
"Barthelme's latest is about loss…but it is also a recognition that starting over, however involuntarily, forces people out of habit and into building something that might hold up better this time." —Maud Newton, NPR
“Barthelme’s eye and ear unerringly capture the moment he lives in.” —The Los Angeles Times
“Well-written and entertaining.” —St. Louis Tribune
“Illustrates the beauty that sympathetic, precise examination of people and places, stripped of any grandiosity or overcomplication, can convey.” —Philadelphia City Paper