It is the summer of 1940, and Lisbon, Portugal, is the only neutral port left in Europe - a city filled with spies, crowned heads, and refugees of every nationality, tipping back absinthe to while away the time until their escape. Awaiting safe passage to New York on the SS Manhattan, two couples meet: Pete and Julia Winters, expatriate Americans fleeing their sedate life in Paris; and Edward and Iris Freleng, sophisticated, independently wealthy, bohemian, and beset by the social and sexual anxieties of their class. As Portugal's neutrality, and the world's future, hang in the balance, the hidden threads in the lives of these four characters - Julia's status as a Jew, Pete and Edward's improbable affair, Iris's increasingly desperate efforts to save her tenuous marriage - begin to come loose. This journey will change their lives irrevocably, as Europe sinks into war.
Gorgeously written, sexually and politically charged, David Leavitt's long-awaited new novel is an extraordinary work.
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"Starred Review. Leavitt's clever, engaging tale of marriage's hidden shadows, lies, and half-truths demonstrates that husbands and wives are only as happy as they've already decided to allow themselves to be." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. A dramatic story that Leavitt weaves with compelling authority and empathy." - Booklist
"Told from different perspectives, this multilayered tale intrigues with its twists and turns of plot and viewpoint. Leavitt's graceful depiction of same-sex romance will have universal appeal." - Library Journal
"An artfully crafted story. Very fine work." - Kirkus
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David Leavitt's many books include the story collection Family Dancing (finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award), and the novels The Lost Language of Cranes, While England Sleeps (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award), The Body of Jonah Boyd, and The Indian Clerk (finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award). He is also the author of two nonfiction works, The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer and Florence, A Delicate Case. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Harper's, Vogue, the Paris Review, among other publications. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he is professor of English at the University of Florida, and edits the literary magazine Subtropics.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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