The Catastrophist by Lawrence Douglas

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In the tradition of Michael Frayn and David Lodge, an intellectual comedy satirizing love, marriage, and academic life.

Meet Daniel Wellington. Art historian, academic star, devoted husband, and futurephobe. Although Daniel has known nothing but success, he's convinced the future promises nothing but disaster. When his wife presents him with a tiny, size XXS Yale sweatshirt, Daniel is seized by the impulse to bolt; the specter of imminent fatherhood sends him into a full-blown existential crisis. Soon this well-intentioned, if neurotic, young professor finds himself plotting bigamy, lying about his past, imagining his pregnant wife in the arms of an androgynous graduate student, and explaining to the dean why he e-mailed an obscene suggestion to the naked lead in a student production of Miss Julie. Naturally, Daniel's hilariously deranged behavior brings about the very catastrophes he fears most.

From an idyllic New England campus to the rarefied art worlds of Berlin and London, The Catastrophist charts the rise and fall and partial rebound of an ambivalent but endearing everyman. Razor sharp and riotously funny, this debut novel heralds the appearance of a major new comedic voice in American fiction.

About Lawrence Douglas

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Lawrence Douglas Lawrence Douglas teaches at Amherst College. He is the author of an acclaimed study of war crimes trials,The Memory of Judgment(Yale University Press, 2001), and coauthor of a book of humor,Sense and Nonsensibility(Simon and Schuster, 2004). His writing has appeared in theNew York Times Book Review, theHudson Review, McSweeney's, and theNew Yorker, and he is a regular contributor to theChronicle of Higher Educationand theTimes Literary Supplement. Douglas lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Published May 16, 2006 by Other Press. 276 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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You’re afraid of tomorrow”), and inconvenient attractions to eccentric Rosalind Roth (whose vacant apartment beckons as a refuge from his marriage’s demands) and smoldering graduate student Tamara Starr, who attracts his attention by briefly appearing nude onstage during a collegiate production o...

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The New York Times

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Douglas, himself the author of an academic book called "The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust," knows this terrain well and can be refreshingly unsanctimonious about the politics of war memorials.

Jul 16 2006 | Read Full Review of The Catastrophist

Entertainment Weekly

Daniel Wellington, the manic, clueless narrator of Lawrence Douglas' highly amusing debut, The Catastrophist, is a case study in male neurosis.

May 12 2006 | Read Full Review of The Catastrophist

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