Monday, December 17, 2007

"The Kept Man"

New from Riverhead Books: Jami Attenberg's The Kept Man.

About the book, from the author's website:

There was the ambulance, and a lot of noise, and me and Martin in the hospital, paint on his face, paint on my knees, the two of us the weirdest people in the room, as usual, only this time I didn't have anyone to talk to but myself.

Six years ago, Jarvis Miller's husband, an artist whose career was poised to take off, fell into a coma. And ever since, she's been waiting. She has waited at his bedside, leaning against the nursing home's yellow walls and then waited a day for her depression to subside after every visit. She has waited for doctors and prescriptions, all the newest and best; for cars to take her home; for checks to sign; and most of all she has waited for her husband to wake up. But after six years of dwindling hope, living as a half-widow, and selling off pieces of her husband's artwork to pay for the machines that keep him alive, Jarvis has come to admit that she's waiting for her husband to die.

Then one spring day when her washing machine breaks down, Jarvis meets the members of the Kept Man Club: three handsome, interesting men, all married to readwinner wives, who meet once a week at a local laundromat. Their companionship opens her eyes to the possibilities of family, warmth, and friendship she's been missing, and they become her first new friends in six years. At the same time, her husband's best friend and his art dealer pressure Jarvis to gather the remainder of his work for a retrospective - a proposition that produces mixed feelings, since it's an honor usually reserved for the already dead. Sorting through a hidden box of photographs, she uncovers evidence of a shocking betrayal that calls into question her idealized vision of the past.