Otto and Sophie Bentwood live in a changing neighborhood in Brooklyn. Their stainless-steel kitchen is newly installed, and their Mercedes is parked curbside. After Sophie is bitten on the hand while trying to feed a stray, perhaps rabies-infected cat, a series of small and ominous disasters begin to plague the Bentwoods' lives, revealing the fault lines and fractures in a marriage--and a society--wrenching itself apart.
First published in 1970 to wide acclaim, Desperate Characters stands as one of the most dazzling and rigorous examples of the storyteller's craft in postwar American literature -- a novel that, according to Irving Howe, ranks with "Billy Budd, The Great Gatsby, Miss Lonelyhearts, and Seize the Day."
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Packed with lucid insights.--Isabella Biedenharn
This perfect novel about pain is as clear, and as wholly believable, and as healing, as a fever dream.--Frederick Busch
Fox dissects a marriage and a social class with the sharpest of knives, cannily undermining not only one couple's false pieties and deceptive comforts but our own as well.--Marisa Silver
A masterwork of economical prose...Remarkable...[O]ne can only wonder who is more fatally deluded--the desperate characters of the Bentwoods' era or the hyperconfident ones of our own.--Andrew O'Hehir