The Gift by David Flusfeder
A Novel

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Synopsis

Phillip has a lot on his mind. At home, in his unnecessarily large, excessively expensive house, he is attempting to become a Taoist

master of love with his wife, Alice, but his quest is forever being interrupted by the requests of his twin daughters -- "Can we have a pony, please?"; "We want to go to boarding school." At work, in his shed/office at the bottom of the garden, between countless games of Minesweeper and FreeCell, Phillip is trying to pay the mortgage by writing the instruction manuals to Korean bread-making machines. And at parties where he is concerned that he is not taken seriously -- he is variously mistaken as a waiter and a rhinoplastic surgeon -- Phillip tells the world he is, in fact, a screenwriter.

Above all, Phillip is obsessing about his best friends, Barry and Sean. They are rich, more successful, and, most worryingly, they give great presents. Their gifts are always exquisite -- a full set of Italian crockery, a handmade corkscrew from Venice; they give them on birthdays, at parties, and quite often for no reason whatsoever; and, increasingly, these presents break all bounds of generosity.

They are gifts that hurt a man's pride. And they can never be matched. Which doesn't mean Phillip won't try. . . .

 

About David Flusfeder

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David Flusfeder is the author of three previous novels, including Man Kills Woman. Born in Summit, New Jersey, he now lives in London.
 
Published January 1, 2003 by Fourth Estate Ltd. 320 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Sports & Outdoors, Action & Adventure. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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His obsession with outdoing Barry and Phillip develops at the same time as does Phillip’s lunatic quest to find Syd Barrett, a onetime member of Pink Floyd who left the band early on and fell into a kind of mythic obscurity.

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The Guardian

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The trigger is a gift: not a gift received - not yet - but a gift he feels he has to give their wealthy friends, Barry and Sean, in return for their frequent hospitality.

Feb 08 2003 | Read Full Review of The Gift: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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A sketchy fellow named Carlo—whom Phillip meets in jail after a dinner party gone awry—feeds Phillip's anxieties, and soon Phillip is sneaking into Barry and Sean's home in the middle of the night to perform a "creepy-crawly": shifting around their personal possessions and inadvertently killing o...

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