A Quiet Adjustment: Book summary and reviews of A Quiet Adjustment by Benjamin Markovits

A Quiet Adjustment

A Novel

by Benjamin Markovits

A Quiet Adjustment
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2008
    352 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

A psychological thriller of passionate attachment and emotional cruelty, involving a love triangle between Lord Byron, his half-sister, and his wife.

To dissolve a dreadfully mistaken union between two formidable egos: surely it should only take "a quiet adjustment"? Inspired by the actual biography of Lord Byron—the greatest literary figure and most notorious sex symbol of his age—Benjamin Markovits reimagines Byron's marriage to the capable, intellectual, and tormented Annabella and the scandal that broke open their lives and riveted the world around them: Byron's incestuous relationship with his impetuous half-sister, Gus. Their very different understandings of love and obligation lead them all—and the reader—headlong to a devastating conclusion.

Acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic for his memorable prose and acute sense of character, Markovits here sets a new standard for the literary historical novel. A Quiet Adjustment is at once immersed in its period, an homage to Byron and his work, and a thoroughly modern fiction in the psychologically incisive vein of Ian McEwan and Colm Tóibín.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The narrative somehow captures [Annabella's] mingled shyness and candour, and makes of its stylistic artifice something surprisingly natural. It is an achievement that is quite characteristic of this eloquently written novel." - The Guardian (UK).

"Markovits tells his tale with incredible style. His sentences are deliciously wordy and fun. Where many historical novelists struggle to approximate a pre-20th-century vernacular, 1820-speak comes naturally to Markovits." - The Times (UK).

"The complexities of Byron's life and character are perfectly suited to the canniness of Markovits's mind, and the skill of A Quiet Adjustment confirms his mastery of the genre. I await with anticipation what he does next?" - The Telegraph (UK).

"Markovits's delicate, painstaking, psychologically and socially acute examination of Byron's women can seem overwhelmed by its length and stylistic devotion." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Markovits plumbs the very depths of this passionate chill." - Publishers Weekly.

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Benjamin Markovits was born in 1973 in California, and grew up in Texas, London and Berlin. He is the author of six previous novels: The Syme Papers, Either Side of Winter, Imposture, A Quiet Adjustment, Playing Days and Childish Loves. He has published essays, stories, poetry and reviews on subjects ranging from the Romantics to American sports in the Guardian, Granta, The Paris Review and The New York Times, among other publications. He lives in London and teaches creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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