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The promise of elsewhere

Alfred A. Knopf

Author Leithauser, Brad
Edition First edition
Description 330 pages
ISBN 9780525655039, 0525655034
Subject Midlife crisis , Architecture -- Study and teaching , Memory
Location Main Adult Fiction
Status Available

Summary

"In this comic novel, our hero, Midwesterner Louie Hake, tries to prop up the failing prospects of happiness in his career and marriage by setting out abroad on what he calls his Journey of a Lifetime. Louie is 43, teaches architecture at a third-rate college in Michigan, and faced with a collapsing second marriage and a potentially disastrous medical diagnosis, he decides to undertake a high-minded tour of the world's most spectacular architecture sites: Italy, Turkey, India, Japan. But Louie gets waylaid--ludicrously, spectacularly so. After a stab at a new romance with a jilted bride alone on her honeymoon in London, he somehow winds up in the high Arctic, where the architectural tradition seems sad and laughable. (Turf houses? Corrugated aluminum sheds?) But it turns out there's another sort of architecture at play here--ice bergs the size of cathedrals--bobbing beside a strange and wondrous landscape. As it slowly grows clear, Louie's Grand Journey is a trip through his much-bungled romantic past. Whether pursuing by email his estranged present wife (co-habiting with a sexy playwright in the Virgin Islands), or his first wife (newly engaged to someone else), or an older woman he kissed once a quarter-century ago, Louie is both ridiculous and touching. A novel that is both funny and moving, a serious look into the Midwestern soul in crisis"--