The Land of Steady Habits
By Ted Thompson
Narrated by Joe Barrett / 7 hours 24 minutes
"This assured, compassionate first novel channels the suburban angst of Updike and Cheever...with pitch-perfect prose and endearingly melancholy characters."-Booklist (Starred Review)
Coming of age can happen at the strangest times. For Anders Hill, long ensconced in "the land of steady habits"-the affluent, morally strict hamlets of Connecticut that dot the commuter rail line-it's finally time to reap the rewards of a sensible life. Into his sixties and newly retired, his grown sons' college tuitions paid in full, Anders finds the contentment he's been promised is still just out of reach. So he decides he's had enough of steady habits: he leaves his wife, buys a condo, and waits for freedom to transform him.
But as the cheery charade of Christmas approaches, Anders starts to wonder if maybe parachuting from his life was not the most prudent choice. Stripped of the comforts of his previous identity, Anders turns up at a holiday party full of his ex-wife's friends and is suprised to find that the very world he rejected may be one he needs. Thus Anders embarks on a clumsy, hilarious, and heartbreaking journey to reconcile his past with his present.
Charting the arc of a forty-year marriage this finely observed novel about a man deep in conflict with his community and his past brings into sharp relief the powers of memory, miscommunication, routine, and disappointment to shape and define a family's mythology. Reminiscent of the early work of John Updike, Ted Thompson writes with a striking compassion for his characters and fresh insight into the American tradition of the suburban narrative.
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