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When Morris Schutt, a prominent newspaper columnist, surveys his life over the past year, he sees disaster everywhere. His son has just been killed in Afghanistan, and his newspaper has put him on indefinite leave; his psychiatrist wife, Lucille, seems headed for the door; he is strongly attracted to Ursula, the wife of a dairy farmer from Minnesota; and his daughter appears to be having an affair with one of her professors.
What is a thinking man to do but turn to Cicero and Plato and Socrates in search of the truth? Or better still, call one of those discreet “dating services” in search of happiness? But happiness, as Morris discovers, is not that easy to find.
David Bergen’s most accomplished novel yet is an unforgettable story with a vitality and charm and intelligence all its own. Bergen proves once again that he is one of our finest writers, dazzling us with his wit and touching us with his compassion.
In search of love, absolution, or forgiveness, Charles Boatman leaves B.C. and returns mysteriously to the country where he fought twenty-eight years earlier as a young, reluctant soldier. But his new encounters seem irreconcilable with his memories.
When their father disappears, Ada and her brother, Jon, travel to Danang, Vietnam, to find him. Their quest takes them into the heart of a world that is at once incomprehensible, impassive, and beautiful. Chasing her father’s shadow for weeks, following slim leads, Ada feels increasingly hopeless. Yet while Jon slips into the urban nightlife to avoid what he most fears, Ada soon grows closer than ever to her missing father—and strong enough to forgive him and to bear the truth of his long-kept secret.
Bergen’s marvellously drawn characters include Lieutenant Dat, the police officer who tries to seduce Ada by withholding information; Elaine Gouds, the troubled wife of a self-styled American missionary who lives within the expatriate community in…[more]
The Case of Lena S. follows the life, loves, and coming-of-age of sixteen-year-old Mason Crowe during a year in which he will learn what it truly means to be in the world. At the centre of the novel is Lena, a troubled girl who has “chosen” Mason and will teach him something of desire and despair. Impulsive, provocative, vulnerable, and sad, Lena becomes haunting for Mason in ways he does not always understand. We meet Mason’s first “love,” an older girl destined for an arranged marriage; his mother, who takes a lover; and a wise and erudite blind man with a voyeuristic streak, to whom Mason reads. Playful, and with deadpan humour, the novel brilliantly captures the yearnings of youth, as well as the tantalizing possibilities and the confounding absurdities that sometimes lie at the heart of our most intimate relationships.