"Very funny and unexpected, a material response to our times, plush as velvet." -Rachel Cusk "A wickedly funny and emotionally expansive novel about all the bewildering ways we seek solace from the people and things that surround us." - Jenny Offill David Leavitt returns with his signature "coolly elegant prose" (O, The Oprah Magazine) to deliver a comedy of manners for the Trump era.
It is the Saturday after the 2016 presidential election, and in a plush weekend house in Connecticut, an intimate group of friends, New Yorkers all, has gathered to recover from what they consider the greatest political catastrophe of their lives. They have just sat down to tea when their hostess, Eva Lindquist, proposes a dare. Who among them would be willing to ask Siri how to assassinate Donald Trump? Liberal and like-minded-editors, writers, a decorator, a theater producer, and one financial guy, Eva's husband, Bruce-the friends have come to the countryside in the hope of restoring the bubble in which they have grown used to living. Yet with the exception of one brash and obnoxious book editor, none is willing to accept Eva's challenge. Shelter in Place
is a novel about house and home, furniture and rooms, safety and freedom and the invidious ways in which political upheaval can undermine even the most seemingly impregnable foundations. Eva is the novel's polestar, a woman who moves through her days accompanied by a roving, carefully curated salon. She's a generous hostess and more than a bit of a control freak, whose obsession with decorating allows Leavitt to treat us to a slyly comic look at the habitués and fetishes of the so-called shelter industry. Yet when, in her avidity to secure shelter for herself, she persuades Bruce to buy a grand if dilapidated apartment in Venice, she unwittingly sets off the chain of events that will propel him, for the first time, to venture outside the bubble and embark on a wholly unexpected love affair.
A comic portrait of the months immediately following the 2016 election, Shelter in Place
is also a meditation on the unreliable appetites-for love, for power, for freedom-by which both our public and private lives are shaped.
About the Author
David Leavitt's novels and story collections include Family Dancing (finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award), The Lost Language of Cranes, While England Sleeps, Arkansas, The Indian Clerk (finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize and the IMPAC/Dublin Literary Award), and The Two Hotel Francforts. He is also the author of two nonfiction books, Florence, A Delicate Case and The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer. He is co-director of the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Florida, where he is Professor of English and edits the journal Subtropics.
"'Humankind cannot stand very much reality.' So a character in David Leavitt's novel, Shelter in Place, quotes T. S. Eliot. Leavitt has written a brilliant comedy of manners about the convoluted ways that people of taste, affluence, privilege, breeding, etc. avoid looking too closely at their own part in said reality. Shelter in Place is a book about people who are essentially spectators, bystanders, but who wish to be more-to be people of action. Among the book's themes are the relationship between altruism and self-preservation, and the highly ephemeral nature of a certain kind of sophistication." --David Salle
"I've long been a fan of David Leavitt's work, for its range, its depth, its smarts and its humor. He is a phenomenal and prescient writer." --Justin Torres
"Brave and risky . . . Leavitt is a fluent, clever writer . . . he has such page-turning craft that you read enthusiastically." --The New York Times Book Review on THE TWO HOTEL FRANCFORTS
"David Leavitt's lean, stylish new novel unfurls like a classic Hollywood film, crackling with intrigue and illicit romance . . .[Leavitt] transports the reader to wayward world racked by historic upheaval and intimate demons." --O, the Oprah Magazine, on THE TWO HOTEL FRANCFORTS
"Leavitt writes beautifully and fluently, his scenes studded with precise detail . . . a bracing ending, proving Leavitt as much a master of clarity as he is of confusion." --Gay City News, on THE TWO HOTEL FRANCFORTS
"A deftly executed piece of literary historical fiction." --The Washington Post, on THE TWO HOTEL FRANCFORTS