A Disorder Peculiar to the Country

A Disorder Peculiar to the Country

A Novel

Book - 2006
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In a rollicking black comedy about terrorism, war, and conjugal strife, the author whom Salon calls "a writer of chameleonic fluency" revisits some peculiar episodes in current American history.

Joyce and Marshall Harriman are struggling to divorce each other while sharing a cramped, hateful Brooklyn apartment with their two small children. One late-summer morning, Joyce departs for Newark Airport to catch a flight to San Francisco, and Marshall goes to his office in the World Trade Center. She misses her flight, and he's late for work, but on that grim day, in a devastated city, among millions seized by fear and grief, each thinks the other's dead and each is secretly, shamefully, gloriously happy.

Opening with a swift kick to our national piety, A Disorder Peculiar to the Country follows Joyce and Marshall as they swallow their mutual disappointment, their divorce conflict intensifies, and they suffer, in unexpectedly personal ways, the many strange ravages that beset America in the first years of the Bush administration. Joyce suspects Marshall has sent an anthrax-laced envelope to her office. Marshall taps her phone and studies plans for constructing a suicide bomb. The stock market crash and the war in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib and the clash of civilizations: all become marital battlefields. Concluding with the liberation of Iraq, A Disorder Peculiar to the Country astonishingly lampoons how our nation's public calamities have encroached upon our most intimate private terrors. It firmly establishes Ken Kalfus as one of the most daring and inventive writers at work today.

Publisher: New York : Ecco, c2006.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780060501402
0060501405
Branch Call Number: KALFUS K
Characteristics: 237 pages ; 24 cm.

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RazorSteel
Apr 30, 2007

I found the book a good read? at least the first 4/5. Kalfus introduces a pair of interesting characters ? Marshall and Joyce Harriman ? who must have brought a considerable amount of emotional baggage to their marriage, considering their spite-filled, impending divorce. 9/11 plays a significant role in each of their lives, and a relative's wedding adds a degree of comic relief as well as a glimpse into Joyce's and Marshall's emotional well-being ? or lack thereof. The party Marshall attends seemed out of place in the novel, except to demonstrate how pathetic his life has become, or will be. And the ending! A fantastical neoconservative's version of how the war in Iraq was supposed to turn out.

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