A Thousand Pardons:
by Jonathan Dee
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A Thousand Pardons opens at a large home on a dead-end street in a fictional well-to-do bedroom community near New York City called Rensselaer Valley. The home belongs to Helen Armstead, an unsatisfied housewife; her husband, Ben, an unsatisfied corporate lawyer; and their daughter, Sara, who was adopted from China and is also unsatisfied. This familiar literary scenario, with its echoes of Cheever and Yates and Updike, reaches its expected destination with alarming speed: Ben goes after a comely summer associate; receives a serious beating from the associate’s boyfriend; crashes his Audi, drunk on bourbon, off of County Route 55; and ends up in rehab, the divorce pending, by page 23.
The alacrity with which novelist Jonathan Dee blows through this amount of plot makes more sense when you realize that the first
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