Richard's life is unravelling: his beautiful wife, Valerie, is having an affair, his son Maxence may (or may not) be mentally disturbed, and the idyllic life he'd hoped for when they moved to Provence has become more nightmare than paradise. Suddenly, a routine trip to Africa to sell pharmaceuticals is more than he can handle and his life starts to implode as he realizes that the idea of a life full of that love he has cherished is a mere illusion. For Richard and Valerie's neighbour Rachel, a trip to Africa also leads to feelings of confusion and doubt. Now Rachel, and her husband Jeff, as well as Richard and Valerie, are left groping for the things that once defined them. In this bold and tender story, both families find themselves desperately seeking the answer to one question: just what is the idea of love - and can it save them?But for the children in the story, the awkward unsettling Maxence and angelic little Maud, the idea of love is much simpler...
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Louise Dean is the author of two previous novels: Becoming Strangers, which was awarded the Betty Trask Prize in 2004, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and This Human Season. She lives in Kent and has three children.From Publishers Weekly:
In this unrelentingly bleak tale, Dean (This Human Season) explores the lives of two couples and how precarious sanity can be. Richard, an English pharmaceutical representative selling psychotropic drugs in Africa, and his wife, Valérie, an unapologetic French hedonist, live in Provence next to Jeff, a brash American, and his English wife, Rachel, who is determined to save the world one child at a time. That hope is soundly defeated after trips to an African orphanage send Jeff into Valérie's arms, and Rachel's religious outbursts impede her cause. Rachel, though, isn't the only person affected by the betrayal: Richard slowly descends into a nervous breakdown and wonders if his wife ever loved him. Meanwhile, Richard and Valérie's teenage son appears to be slipping into madness. The puzzle pieces rearrange throughout the novel, sometimes falling into unexpected patterns the reader may not see coming. Dean's gift for descriptive prose is evident, and her edgy story will shake up traditional ideas about what exactly love is. It may also send depressed readers straight for a mood stabilizer. (July)
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Book Description Penguin, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 336 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0141030593
Book Description Penguin Books, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0141030593