The Arriviste by James Wallenstein

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Characters drive, swim, play tennis, mow the lawn, dance. They remain at arm’s length, but we’re diverted by the cinematic atmospherics of these dreamy scapes.
-The Washington Post

Synopsis

If by 1970 I had started to slip, it wasn’t by much. To make more of the decline would be easy: exaggeration resonates in candor. My income had fallen, though not to any depth. That would have required a spectacular reversal, and, contrary impulses notwithstanding, I seem to avoid spectacular actions of any kind. I still had plenty of money in 1970, more than my neighbors could reasonably hope to come by, yet not so much anymore that I could forget them. My lawn was no longer quite big enough nor my hedges high enough.

Neil Fox has made a fortune off the “heads we win/tails you lose” venture capital deals negotiated by his brother, costing him almost everything but money. His ex-wife and daughter spurn him, and he lost his young son years ago. He now lives a carefully plotted life, working as a lawyer at a small investment-banking firm and spending nights at home with a drink.

When the affable Bud Younger moves in next door—on a parcel that Neil had sold off—Neil takes an almost instant dislike to him. Bud is nearly everything Neil is not—a gregarious, energetic striver loved by his intact family. When Bud asks Neil to
 

About James Wallenstein

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James Wallenstein's work has appeared in GQ, The Believer, the Antioch Review, The Boston Review, and the Hudson Review, among other publications. He lives in New York. The Arriviste is his first novel.
 
Published June 7, 2011 by Milkweed Editions. 314 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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The Washington Post

Above average
Reviewed by Anne Trubek on Jul 05 2011

Characters drive, swim, play tennis, mow the lawn, dance. They remain at arm’s length, but we’re diverted by the cinematic atmospherics of these dreamy scapes.

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