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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Jill Ciment's third novel examines how huge social catastrophes can be easily eclipsed by seemingly less significant personal problems. During the course of a single weekend, Ruth and Alex Cohen, an elderly New York couple, prepare for an open house as they try to sell the apartment where they have lived for almost 50 years. Meanwhile, the rest of the city is panic-stricken when a gasoline truck gets mysteriously stuck in the Midtown tunnel, triggering fears of a terrorist attack. But the worst is yet to come--the Cohens' beloved dachshund, Dorothy, suffers partial paralysis after a seizure and has to be left alone at the veterinary clinic while the couple attends to their open house. With the real estate market plummeting due to the alleged attack, the Cohens fend off apartment hunters bent on finding a bargain and wait on edge to hear about their sick pet. Ciment deftly weaves news reports, rumors, "expert" analysis, gossip, and intuition to show how her characters seek and acquire the information that they feel will help them negotiate life's most immediate obstacles.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres
- Nature + Animals, Literary, Stages of Life, Conflicts + Dualities, Settings, Politics
- June 1, 2010
- June 1, 2010
- Jill Ciment