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Beautifully written.... Gates [has a] pitch-perfect ear for contemporary speech...and...[a] keen, journalistic eye. --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
In this comic, fiercely compassionate novel, David Gates, whose first novel Jernigan was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, sends his protagonist on a visceral journey to the dark side of suburban masculinity, explores the claims youth makes on middle age, and the tenacious --at times perverse--power of love to assert itself.
When Doug Willis has a mid-life crisis, he doesn't join a gym or have an affair. Instead he gets himself arrested while camping with his wife and kids, takes a two month leave of absence from his PR job, and retreats to his farmhouse in rural Preston Falls--where he plugs in his guitar and tries to shut out his life.
While his wife, Jean, struggles to pay the bills and raise their sullen, skeptical kids, Willis's plans for hiatus crumble into Dewars-and-cocaine fueled disarray. A shattered window, an unguarded gun, and a shady small town attorney force a crisis--and Willis can't go home again. With its biting humor and harsh realism, Preston Falls confirms David Gates as a talent in the tradition of Russell Banks and Richard Ford: a master of dark truths and private longings.