The Complicities: Book summary and reviews of The Complicities by Stacey D'Erasmo

The Complicities

by Stacey D'Erasmo

The Complicities by Stacey D'Erasmo X
The Complicities by Stacey D'Erasmo
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  • Published Sep 2022
    304 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

Award-winning author Stacey D'Erasmo tells a haunting and emotionally affecting story about a woman trying to rebuild her life after her husband's arrest, and what she knew - or pretended not to know - about where their family's money came from.

After her husband Alan's decades of financial fraud are exposed, Suzanne's wealthy, comfortable life shatters. Alan goes to prison. Suzanne files for divorce, decamps to a barely middle-class Massachusetts beach town, and begins to create a new life and identity. Ignoring a steady stream of calls from Norfolk State Prison, she tries to cleanse herself of all connections to her ex-husband. She tells herself that he, not she, committed the crimes.

Then Alan is released early, and the many people whose lives he ruined demand restitution. But when Suzanne finds herself awestruck at a major whale stranding, she makes an apparently high-minded decision that ripples with devastating effect not only through Alan's life as he tries to rebuild but also through the lives of Suzanne and Alan's son, Alan's new wife, his estranged mother, and, ultimately, Suzanne herself.

When damage is done, who pays? Who loses? Who is responsible?

With biting wisdom, The Complicities examines the ways in which the stories we tell ourselves—that we didn't know, that we weren't there, that it wasn't our fault—are also finally stories of our own deep complicity.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Three women consider their relationships with a white-collar criminal in this perfect outing from D'Erasmo...With smooth shifts in perspective and understated and precise prose, D'Erasmo demonstrates a mastery of the craft. The result is propulsive and profound." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"As in all her finely wrought, shrewdly piercing novels, D'Erasmo keeps us recalibrating our perceptions…An arresting and intricately spun inquiry into talent, resentment, and risk, love and betrayal, self and community, guilt and retribution." - Booklist (starred review)

"[C]lever...With smooth shifts in perspective and understated and precise prose, D'Erasmo demonstrates a mastery of the craft. The result is propulsive and profound." - Kirkus Reviews

"The prose abounds with lyrical imagery. But its particular strength is its examination of that liminal space between innocence and culpability, leaving readers to judge whether these characters are as innocent as they want to believe." - Library Journal

"What does it mean—in such a corrupted world—to reckon with and atone for our own complicities? Stacey D'Erasmo's latest unspools with the twisty intensity of a psychological thriller and the oceanic depth of a literary tour de force. The Complicities is an electrifying novel of powerful moral complexity, from a treasured writer working at the height of her powers." - Laura van den Berg, author of I Hold a Wolf by the Ears

"The Complicities had me enthralled. This gripping, human tale of our crimes—financial, environmental, self-delusional—is impossible to put down. D'Erasmo weaves a thriller of a tale, exposing sticky webs of corruption that entangle our lives and fates, even those who fantasize about their innocence, redemption and escape." - Samantha Hunt, author of The Unwritten Book: An Investigation

"The Complicities is a subtle masterpiece. Imagine a voice—lyrical and low, intimate and insistent—whispering in your ear. Half-told truths simmer below the surface, like the uneasy murmuring of a conscience. Mesmerized, you listen. There is menace here in D'Erasmo's disquieted world, and terrible beauty, too. Things are not what they appear to be. We are not who we think we are, either, and yet we are complicit." - Ruth Ozeki, author of The Book of Form and Emptiness

This information about The Complicities 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

Stacey D'Erasmo

Stacey D'Erasmo is the author of four novels and one book of nonfiction. She's been the recipient of a Stegner Fellowship in Fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction, and a Lambda Literary Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize, among other awards. She is an Associate Professor of Writing and Publishing Practices at Fordham University.

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