A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee
A Novel

57%

7 Critic Reviews

Dee’s meditation on repentance in a post-divorce world works well but the novel starts to falter when a late-breaking psychological thriller plot disrupts its flow.
-Financial Times

Synopsis

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

For readers of Jonathan Franzen and Richard Russo, Jonathan Dee’s novels are masterful works of literary fiction. In this sharply observed tale of self-invention and public scandal, Dee raises a trenchant question: what do we really want when we ask for forgiveness?
 
Once a privileged and loving couple, the Armsteads have now reached a breaking point. Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home—a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. Then, in one afternoon, Ben’s recklessness takes an alarming turn, and everything the Armsteads have built together unravels, swiftly and spectacularly.
 
Thrust back into the working world, Helen finds a job in public relations and relocates with Sara from their home in upstate New York to an apartment in Manhattan. There, Helen discovers she has a rare gift, indispensable in the world of image control: She can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances. Yet redemption is more easily granted in her professional life than in her personal one.
 
As she is confronted with the biggest case of her career, the fallout from her marriage, and Sara’s increasingly distant behavior, Helen must face the limits of accountability and her own capacity for forgiveness.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

Praise for A Thousand Pardons
 
A Thousand Pardons is that rare thing: a genuine literary thriller. Eerily suspenseful and packed with dramatic event, it also offers a trenchant, hilarious portrait of our collective longing for authenticity in these overmediated times.”—Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

“Hugely enjoyable . . . Dee is a snappy, cinematic writer. . . . A Thousand Pardons moves fast. It’s a mere 200 or so pages, and it packs a lot of turns of fate within there.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Dee’s gifts are often dazzling and his material meticulously shaped. . . . [He] articulates complex emotional dynamics with precision and insight.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Some stories begin with a bang. And some begin with a roaring fireball of truth. Jonathan Dee’s latest novel belongs in the latter camp.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Dee bounds gracefully among Helen’s, Ben’s, and Sara’s points of view as they try to reassemble their lives. Their stories feel honest, and the prose is beautiful.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“A page turner . . . What a triumph.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“Graceful prose and such a sharp understanding of human weakness that you’ll wince as you laugh.”—People
 
“Propulsively readable.”—The Millions
 
“Dee continues to establish himself as an ironic observer of contemporary behavior. . . . The plot is energetic. . . . But most compelling is the acuteness of the details.
 

About Jonathan Dee

See more books from this Author
JONATHAN DEE is the author of five novels, most recently The Privileges, which was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. He is a Contributing Writer for The New York Times Magazine, a frequent literary critic for Harper's, and a former Senior Editor of The Paris Review. He teaches in the graduate writing programs at Columbia University and The New School. He is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation.













Author Residence: New York, NY













Author Hometown: New York, NY
 
Published March 12, 2013 by Random House. 225 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for A Thousand Pardons
All: 7 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Katharine Noel on May 10 2013

Dee articulates complex emotional dynamics with precision and insight.

Read Full Review of A Thousand Pardons: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Sarah Churchwell on Aug 09 2013

The novel is brief, pacy, intelligent; but it never delves deeply into the complexities and contradictions of America's relationship to redemption.

Read Full Review of A Thousand Pardons: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by LUCY SCHOLES on Aug 03 2013

A punch in the face of the American Dream, this is a timely meditation on public apology and absolution that suggests you don't have to forget in order to forgive – or, indeed, forgive in order to forget.

Read Full Review of A Thousand Pardons: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Mar 26 2013

I wonder, not for the first time, why I don't like his books more. Maybe the answer lies in his distinctive atmosphere: Most of Dee's key characters are so cool, so jaded, so "whatever" — it's like they overmedicate.

Read Full Review of A Thousand Pardons: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Financial Times

Below average
Reviewed by Alice Fishburn on Sep 20 2013

Dee’s meditation on repentance in a post-divorce world works well but the novel starts to falter when a late-breaking psychological thriller plot disrupts its flow.

Read Full Review of A Thousand Pardons: A Novel | See more reviews from Financial Times

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by John M. Wills on Mar 12 2013

A Thousand Pardons is a well-written, contemporary story, one that evokes myriad emotions. The reader will instantly be attracted to the well-developed characters and bond with the protagonist.

Read Full Review of A Thousand Pardons: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Toronto Star

Below average
Reviewed by Patricia Hluchy on Mar 22 2013

With all the weight of self-deception and sin in A Thousand Pardons, there is little to celebrate. And despite the novel’s moments of brilliance, it leaves the sour aftertaste of a moralistic diatribe.

Read Full Review of A Thousand Pardons: A Novel | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for A Thousand Pardons
54%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 178 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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