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A Few Corrections

A Novel

Brad Leithauser

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Description

According to his obituary, Wesley Sultan died at the age of 63, leaving behind three children, a wife, an ex-wife, a brother, a sister, and a life-long business career. According to his obituary, Wesley Sultan led a quiet, respectable, and unremarkable life. Our narrator, however, is about to discover that nothing could be further from the truth.

Using Sultan’s obituary as a road map to the unknown terrain of the man himself, our narrator discovers dead-ends, wrong turns, and unexpected destinations in every line. As he travels from the bleak Michigan winter to the steamy streets of Miami to the idyllic French countryside, in search of those who knew Wesley best, he gradually reconstructs the life of an exceptionally handsome, ambitious, and deceptive man to whom women were everything. And as the margins of the obituary fill with handwritten corrections, as details emerge and facts are revised, our mysterious narrator–whose interest in his quarry is far from random–has no choice but to confront the truth of his own life as well.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Publishers Weekly Review

Apr 01, 2001 – Brad Leithauser (The Friends of Freeland) has been compared to John Updike in the past, but in his latest novel he seems to be getting his cues from a realist of an earlier generation, John O'Hara. The novel takes up a cute premise: Wesley Sultan's obituary, published in the Restoration, Mich., Oracle, is not entirely accurate. Wesley's son, Luke a former investment adviser in Manhattan, now on a quest to understand the father he never really knew corrects it, heading each chapter with a copy of the obituary and the marginal notes that he's accumulated. Wes; Wes's brother, Conrad; and Wes's sister, Adelle, grew up in a family fallen on hard times. When he was 17, Wes dropped out of high school and got a lifetime job with Great Bay Shipping. But his real vocation was seduction Wes was the quintessential lady's man. Sally, his first wife and Luke's mother, divorced him for his incorrigible faithlessness; she is now a relatively rich widow, inheriting around $900,000 from her second husband, a doctor named Gordon. As Luke shuttles between Sally, on vacation in France; Conrad, in retirement in Miami; and Adelle, he becomes as much a protagonist as Wes. But neither Luke nor Wes are infused with the kind of Dreiserian energy necessary to power this tale of middle American hopes and disappointments. Sally and Conrad are the live wires in the book: Conrad is fat and dying, and cantankerous as a goat; Sally is happier and wiser now that she is finally able to do just what she wants. Despite its charismatic supporting players, Leithauser's cleverly conceived novel lacks a strong protagonist, and ultimately caves in on its empty center.
A Few Corrections
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Apr 10, 2001
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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