book cover of Desperate Characters
Added by 3 of our members

Desperate Characters

(1970)
A novel by

 
 
Otto and Sophie Bentwood live childless in a renovated Brooklyn brownstone. The complete works of Goethe line their bookshelf, their stainless-steel kitchen is newly installed, and their Mercedes is parked curbside. But after Sophie is bitten on the hand while trying to feed a half-starved neighborhood cat, a series of small and ominous disasters begin to plague their lives. The fault lines of their marriage are revealed - echoing the fractures of society around them, slowly wrenching itself apart. First published in 1970 to wide acclaim, Desperate Characters stands as one of the most dazzling and rigorous examples of the storyteller's craft in postwar American literature.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"A perfect short novel…As in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich, everything crucial within our souls bared." - Andrea Barrett

"This perfect novel about pain is as clear, and as wholly believable, and as healing, as a fever dream." - Frederick Busch

"The first time I read Desperate Characters…I fell in love with it." - Jonathan Franzen

"Fox dissects a marriage and a social class with the sharpest of knives, cannily undermining not only one couple’s false pieties and deceptive comforts but our own as well." - Marisa Silver

"A towering landmark of postwar Realism. . . . A sustained work of prose so lucid and fine it seems less written than carved." - David Foster Wallace


Similar books by other authors


Used availability for Paula Fox's Desperate Characters

Hardback Editions

October 1970 : UK Hardback
thumb

Title: Desperate Characters
Author(s): Paula Fox
ISBN: 0-333-12072-8 / 978-0-333-12072-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Macmillan
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


1970 : USA Hardback
thumb

Title: Desperate Characters
Author(s): Unnamed
ISBN: 0-15-125305-6 / 978-0-15-125305-0 (USA edition)
Publisher:
Availability: Amazon UK   


Paperback Editions

March 2015 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Desperate Characters
Author(s): Paula Fox
ISBN: 0-393-35110-6 / 978-0-393-35110-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


May 2003 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Desperate Characters
Author(s): Paula Fox
ISBN: 0-00-715038-5 / 978-0-00-715038-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Flamingo
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


May 1999 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Desperate Characters: A Novel (Norton Paperback Fiction)
Author(s): Paula Fox
ISBN: 0-393-31894-X / 978-0-393-31894-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 1983 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Desperate Characters: A Novel
Author(s): Paula Fox
ISBN: 0-87923-309-5 / 978-0-87923-309-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: David R Godine Pub
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

June 2013 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
thumb

Title: Desperate Characters
Author(s): Paula Fox
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


May 1999 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
thumb

Title: Desperate Characters
Author(s): Paula Fox
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA