Heroic Measures (Hardcover)
Pantheon, 9780375425226, 208pp.
Publication Date: June 30, 2009
From the author of The Tattoo Artist (“Beautifully written”—Alice Sebold; “Boldly conceived”—The New York Times Book Review), a new novel—taut, moving, accomplished—set in a fraught, post-9/11 New York... about real estate, dog love, and a city on alert.
A gasoline tanker truck is “stuck” in the Midtown Tunnel. New Yorkers are panicked . . . . Is this the next big attack?
Alex, an artist, and Ruth, a former schoolteacher with an FBI file as thick as a dictionary, must get their beloved dachshund, whose back legs have suddenly become paralyzed, to the animal hospital sixty blocks north. But the streets of Manhattan are welded with traffic. Their dog, Dorothy, twelve-years-old and gray-faced, is the emotional center of Alex and Ruth's forty-five-year-long childless marriage. Using a cutting board as a stretcher, they ferry the dog uptown.
This is also the weekend that Alex and Ruth must sell their apartment. While house hunters traipse
through it during their open house, husband and wife wait by the phone to hear from the animal hospital. During the course of forty-eight hours, as the missing truck driver terrorizes the city, the price of their apartment becomes a barometer for collective hope and despair, as the real estate market spikes and troughs with every breaking news story.
In shifting points of view—Alex’s, Ruth’s, and the little dog’s—man, woman, and one small tenacious
beast try to make sense of the cacophony of rumors, opinions, and innuendos coming from news
anchors, cable TV pundits, pollsters, bomb experts, hostages, witnesses, real estate agents, house hunters, bargain seekers, howling dogs, veterinarians, nurses, and cab drivers.
A moving, deftly told novel of ultrahigh-urban anxiety.
About the Author
Praise For Heroic Measures…
“A brave, generous, nearly perfect novel. . .”
–Los Angeles Times
“A testament to Ciment’s lauded writing style. . . Heroic Measures will delight eager fans awaiting Ciment’s next work.”
–The Daily Beast
“It all sounds so ordinary–dogs get sick; people want to move–yet in Ms. Ciment’s delicate hands, these characters become heroic in their small ways.”
–Wall Street Journal (one of WSJ’s summer reading picks)
“A wry, gentle gem of a novel. . . a lovely read.”
–Christian Science Monitor
"Read Jill Ciment’s Heroic Measures for its painterly depictions of a rattled city, its deliciously biting satire of media and real estate madness, its tender knowledge of the creaturely ties that bind."
“Gripping. . . Ciment plays the veterinary, real estate and domestic details like elements of a thriller plot, while the couple’s love for their dog provides heartrending texture—literature with a commercial cross over.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred)
Praise for Jill Ciment's THE TATTOO ARTIST
“The Tattoo Artist was a fever dream from which I did not wish to wake. This is a beautifully written novel. Ciment transported me to another world where both art and dignity matter. Fantastic!”
–Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
“Ciment’s new novel, like her previous books, is beautifully written and reaches even beyond them as a stunning work of the imagination. I read The Tattoo Artist on one long plane ride, totally immersed and fascinated.”
–Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States
“Elegant, powerful and, ultimately, tragic… Stunning.”
“A highly original suspense novel… A heart-seizing narrative…Breathtaking–not a word is out of place.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
“An ingenious and provocative image… Rich and strange.”
–Los Angeles Times
–O, The Oprah Magazine
“Start to finish, The Tattoo Artist is rich in Ciment’s trademark wit, intelligence, and gorgeous prose. I shall not soon forget this story.”
–Lynn Freed, author of The Curse of the Appropriate Man