The Kept Man
By Jami Attenberg
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594489525, 304pp.)
Publication Date: December 27, 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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A riveting debut novel from a rising literary star about a young woman whose husband has fallen into a coma, and her discovery of evidence that casts doubt on their marriage.
Six years ago, Jarvis Miller's husband, an artist whose career was just starting to gain momentum, fell into a coma. And ever since, Jarvis has been waiting. At first, she was waiting for him to wake up so that their happy marriage could be continued. But she's spent too many years of dwindling hope, living as a half-widow, and selling off more and more pieces of his artwork to power the machines that keep him alive. Now, Jarvis has come to admit that she's waiting for her husband to die.
One spring day at the local laundromat, Jarvis meets the members of the Kept Man Club: three handsome, interesting men, all married to breadwinner wives, who gather once a week on laundry day. Their companionship opens her eyes to the possibilities of family and friendship she's been missing for so many years. At the same time, her husband's best friend and his art dealer pressure Jarvis to collect the remainder of his work for a retrospective-a proposition that engenders mixed feelings, since it's usually an honor reserved for the already dead. Sorting through a hidden box of photographs, she uncovers evidence of a shocking betrayal that calls into question her idealized vision of the past.
Told in a spare and utterly compelling narrative voice, The Kept Man is a compulsively readable novel about love and loss, one that is sure to establish Jami Attenberg as one of our most dynamic new storytellers.