Vintage, Paperback, 9780375724725, 144pp.
Publication Date: October 14, 2003
Samuel Perlman, the elderly narrator of Yasmina Reza’s deliriously dyspeptic novel, is surrounded by happy people. His wife Nancy is thrilled to be a member of the human race. His grown son is content crisscrossing the world to “sample exotic fruit with the savages.” But Samuel himself refuses to be happy and his attempt to explain his refusal (half to his son and half to himself) generates an epic, blasphemous, and hilarious rant against the compromises of his life.
Whether he is recounting his pal Lionel’s heroic battle against impotence; lamenting the loss of his great love, the irresistible Marisa Botton; or pondering the possibility of a new love in the person of one Genevieve Abramowitz, the droll, irascible Perlman is one of the great talkers of contemporary fiction. And Desolation is one of the most dazzling performances ever written for one voice.
“Cantankerous, funny and fierce . . . . a stark yet bleakly comic look at the limitations and solitude inherent in the human condition.” –Los Angeles Times
“Darkly comic. . . . . Reza . . . has conjured a character who, seen through the keen lens of her gimlet eye, is equal parts monster and mensch.” – Elle
“Devilishly well-composed, hilarious, yet venomous….Smart and delectable…covers a gratifying range of emotions and provocative moral, spiritual and cultural terrain with sensitivity and virtuosity.” – Booklist
“[Reza] has an easy understanding of just how amusing men can be when free-floating anxiety and frustration overwhelm them.”—The New York Times