Shipwreck

By Louis Begley
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345464095, 255pp.)

Publication Date: September 28, 2004

List Price: $13.95*
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Description

A mesmerizing novel of deception and betrayal from the acclaimed author of Wartime Lies and About Schmidt.
John North, a prize-winning American writer, is suddenly beset by dark suspicions about the real value of his work. Over endless hours and bottles of whiskey consumed in a mysterious café called L’Entre Deux Mondes, he recounts, in counterpoint to his doubts, the one story he has never told before, perhaps the only important one he will ever tell. North’s chosen interlocutor–who could be his doppelgänger–is transfixed by the revelations and becomes the narrator of North’s tale.

North has always been faithful to his wife, Lydia, but when one of his novels achieves a special success, he allows himself a dalliance with Léa, a starstruck young journalist. Coolly planning to make sure that his life with Lydia will not be disturbed, North is taken off guard when Léa becomes obsessed with him and he with her elaborate erotic games. As the hypnotic and serpentine confession unfurls, we gradually discover the extraordinary lengths to which North has gone to indulge a powerful desire for self-destruction.
Shipwreck is a daring parable of the contradictory impulses that can rend a single soul–narcissism and self-loathing, refinement and lust.




About the Author
Louis Begley est ne en 1933, a Stryj, en Pologne. Apres la guerre, il s'est installe avec ses parents aux Etats-Unis. Etudiant en lettres puis en droit a Harvard, il a integre un grand cabinet d'avocats new-yorkais. Begley est venu tardivement au roman; apres Une education polonaise, il a publie L'homme en retard, Le regard de Max, Mr Schmidt, Mistler prend conge, Schmidt Libere (avril 2002), tous traduits chez Grasset.
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