The Green Suit by Dwight Allen

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The Sackriders are a well-to-do Kentucky family. They are well-bred, reserved, intelligent, affluent. The mother is a neighborhood legend. The father is a highly regarded judge. And the children, well, the children are real disappointments.

By the time the book's almost over, the daughter has slept her way across the United States to the West Coast where she's having a nervous breakdown.

And the son, Peter, whose story The Green Suit mostly is, kind of wants to be a writer, or an editor, maybe. He's not really sure. After college, he does what wistful English majors do: he goes to New York and gets a little job in a publishing house. He falls in love with one bright, up-and-coming young woman after the other, all of whom charge ahead impatiently, leaving him to choke on their dust.

Peter looks to traditional mentors -- his father, the judge; a favorite teacher; two New York editor bosses -- and to less likely ones, including the Sackriders' longtime maid and the man with the green suit. He tries to engage. But somehow, he can't seem to bite down and break off anything solid to chew. Until his sister, having her nervous breakdown, lets him know she needs him.

Dwight Allen's brilliant first book is about love and betrayal, about a family splintering but not quite falling apart, about a brother and sister who exasperate and venerate one another as only a brother and sister can. Its message is one about he perils of self-absorption and noncommitment. And its moral? How good it feels to tunnel out to the light and connect.


About Dwight Allen

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Dwight Allen received a BA from Lawrence University and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. His stories have been published in literary magazines and anthologies including the "Georgia Review, the "Missouri Review, "Shenandoah, and "New Stories from the South. He worked for and contributed nonfiction to the "New Yorker and to "Wigwag before moving to Madison, Wisconsin, where he now lives with his wife and son.
Published September 8, 2000 by Algonquin Books. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Green Suit

Kirkus Reviews

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and the usual signposts mark the territory: a stint at graduate school, intellectual name-dropping, a move to New York, poorly paid jobs at minor publishing concerns and special-interest magazines, desultory love affairs, and a troubled family disintegrating with a barely audible whimper, not a b...

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Publishers Weekly

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The antics of a bizarre set of characters, including the eccentric homosexual editor who gets Sackrider his first job in publishing, a tormented neighbor who manipulates Sackrider into admission of his own weaknesses after harassing Sackrider's family, and the Hispanic hotshot superintendent who ...

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AV Club

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In "Succor," he keeps bumping into a sloppy, unemployed rascal who's like a middle-aged version of himself, and when the rascal shows up at his house, it's as if all of Sackrider's sins and failings have come home.

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of The Green Suit

Austin Chronicle

Dwight Allen's first book, The Green Suit, is more of a collection of stories than a novel (eight of the 11 chapters were published in literary journals) and, unfortunately, the main character, Peter Sackrider, is a sad sack, arguably not worth pursuing through an entire book.

Sep 08 2000 | Read Full Review of The Green Suit

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