By Nancy Huston
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375713668, 240pp.)
Publication Date: January 7, 2003
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On a snowy New England evening in a small college town, Sean Farrell–a hard-drinking, libidinous poet and professor–hosts a Thanksgiving dinner. The eleven guests include two fellow professors (one a novelist, the other also a poet), two of Sean’s former lovers, his lawyer, his housepainter, and his baker. What none of them knows is that Sean is dying. This dinner could be his grand finale.
As food and drink flow, secrets are exposed, tragedies bared, and truths uncovered. “Never could we have dreamed how rough adult life would be,” one character thinks. Yet there is wit and laughter too, in a novel about mortality that is also a celebration of life. With each new book, it becomes increasingly clear that Nancy Huston is a writer of exceptional gifts. Sweet Agony is another impressive performance from a writer whose eye is as sharp as her insight into the human condition is wise.
A native of Calgary and of New Hampshire, Nancy Huston now lives in Paris; she writes in both French and English. The author of nine novels and numerous works of nonfiction, she has won the Prix Goncourt des Lycéen, the Prix du Livre-Inter, the Prix Elle, and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in French.
“An elegant and nimble writer.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Nancy Huston writes with grace and power, and a wisdom that can only come from the heart.” –Chris Bohjalian, author of Midwives
“Insightful and stylish….An audacious conceit distinguishes Huston’s tale.” –Kirkus Reviews