The Privileges by Jonathan Dee was #18 on our list of Best Books of 2010, although if I could have had my way it would have been in the Top 5.
The book focuses on a couple who marry young and become incredibly wealthy—thanks to the husband's success on Wall Street and a little thing called insider trading. These don't sound like very likeable people, do they? As BookPage reviewer Robert Weibezahl wrote in our January 2010 issue: “It’s hard to imagine anyone liking, or even sympathizing with, Adam and Cynthia, and yet Dee’s discerning portrayal of their inner lives keeps the pages turning.” The novel went on to be a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. (The award went to A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.)
The Privileges was Dee's fifth novel, coming eight years after his fourth, Palladio. I wasn't expecting a new book any time soon from this favorite author of mine . . . until I heard the good news! He's got a new novel coming out in the spring. It's called A Thousand Pardons, and it sounds especially timely in this election season and age of a 24-hour news cycle. Here's the plot:
The Armsteads seem like a perfect couple—until husband Ben, a partner at a law firm, does something reckless and "everything the Armsteads have built together unravels, swiftly and spectacularly." Helen, Ben's wife, moves with their preteen daughter to Manhattan and takes a job in PR. "There, Helen discovers she has a rare gift, indispensable in the world of image control: She can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances." (Quotes from marketing materials from Random House.)
Here's hoping that A Thousand Pardons is just as nuanced and elegant as The Privileges. Will you look for it on February 19, 2013?