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Afternoon of a Faun: Book summary and reviews of Afternoon of a Faun by James Lasdun

Afternoon of a Faun

by James Lasdun

Afternoon of a Faun by James Lasdun X
Afternoon of a Faun by James Lasdun
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  • Published Apr 2019
    160 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

Taut, stylish, and psychologically acute, Afternoon of a Faun dramatizes the search for truth as an accusation of sexual assault plunges a journalist into a series of deepening crises.

"The truth might be hard to bring to light, but that didn't mean it didn't exist, because it did exist: fixed in its moment, unalterable, and certainly not a matter of 'belief.' "

When an old flame accuses him of sexual assault in her memoir, expat English journalist Marco Rosedale is brought rapidly and inexorably to the brink of ruin. His reputation and livelihood at stake, Marco confides in a close friend, who finds himself caught between the obligations of friendship and an increasingly urgent desire to uncover the truth. This unnamed friend is drawn, magnetized, into the orbit of the woman at the center of the accusation - and finds his position as the safely detached narrator turning into something more dangerous. Soon, the question of his own complicity becomes impossible to avoid.

Set during the months leading up to Donald Trump's election, with detours into the 1970s, this propulsive novel investigates the very meaning of truth at a time when it feels increasingly malleable. An atmospheric and unsettling drama from a novelist acclaimed as "the literary descendent of Dostoevsky and Patricia Highsmith" (Boston Globe), Afternoon of a Faun combines a sharply observed study of our shifting social mores with a meditation on what makes us believe, or disbelieve, the stories people tell about themselves.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Of the novels to come out of the #MeToo moment to date, none is more riveting, insightful, and unsettling. Lasdun is the perfect writer to navigate these troubled waters from the male perspective." - Kirkus

"Set in the days just after Trump won the Republican nomination - and referencing disgraced figures including Anthony Weiner and Roger Ailes - this novel comes to a brilliantly ironic conclusion that will leave readers reeling. Mainstream literary fiction readers will appreciate this one as well." - Publishers Weekly

"Afternoon of a Faun is an exquisitely rendered tale of moral arithmetic, erotic murkiness, and men's fascination with other men's scorecards. It's also Lasdun at his most pleasurably diabolical." - Laura Kipnis

Afternoon of a Faun is a brilliantly imagined, devastatingly insightful, and powerfully rendered novel of sexual exploitation and betrayal...it is meticulously written and intelligent, both a novel of ideas and a cautionary tale for the #MeToo era." - Joyce Carol Oates

This information about Afternoon of a Faun was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

James Lasdun

James Lasdun is the author of Afternoon of a Faun, The Fall Guy, The Horned Man, and Seven Lies, several poetry and short story collections, and a memoir. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he teaches creative writing at The New School and lives in upstate New York.

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