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The land of steady habits
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Newly retired, with his sons fully grown and graduated from college, Anders Hill leaves his wife of more than forty years, buys a condo, and seeks freedom, but discovers that the world he left behind may be what he was seeking all along. - (Baker & Taylor)

Freshly retired, with his sons fully grown and graduated, Anders Hill leaves his wife of more than 40 years, buys a condo and seeks freedom, but discovers that the world he left behind may be what he was seeking all along. 25,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

"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. - (Grand Central Pub)

Author Biography

Ted Thompson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, where he was awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship. His work has appeared in Tin House and Best New American Voices, among other publications. He was born in Connecticut and lives in Brooklyn with his wife. - (Grand Central Pub)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Filled with heartache and humor, this assured, compassionate first novel channels the suburban angst of Updike and Cheever, updating the narrative of midlife dissatisfaction with a scathing dissection of America's imploding economy. Financier Anders Hill seems to have it all: he's ensconced in a beautiful house in a wealthy Connecticut suburb, his children's college tuition has finally been paid, and he can now retire, freed from the weight of a soul-sucking job. But what he seems to want most is to blow up his entire life. He divorces his wife, buys a condo, and decides to attend the annual Christmas party of his old neighbors, where, surrounded by his ex-wife's close friends, he unravels in spectacularly hilarious fashion, fueled mostly by vitriol and partly by the PCP he's smoked with his neighbors' teenage son. By the time Anders realizes that he might have made an error in judgment—on all counts—his ex-wife has taken up with an old boyfriend (Anders' college roommate) and his sons are entirely out of patience with dear old dad. How Anders forges his path to redemption, for both personal and professional sins, is not to be missed. With pitch-perfect prose and endearingly melancholy characters, Thompson offers up a heartbreaking vision of an ailing family and country. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

As a rebellious teen, Anders Hill rejects his father's plans for his future and succeeds on his own. In doing so, he finds himself in the land of steady habits, commuting to a finance job in Manhattan from a bedroom community in Connecticut. Now in his 60s, Anders realizes that the underlying satisfaction of having achieved success is eroded by his certainty that this is not the life he is meant to lead. The idyllic world he has created for himself unravels in one horrific year when he quits his job, divorces his wife, abandons his children, and befriends a neighbor's son, who then commits suicide. Anders is at a new crossroads; is the life he gave up the one he was destined to live? VERDICT Thompson, a Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, crafts a story replete with characters searching for something other than what they have. Fans of John Updike will enjoy this book by a young, upcoming writer. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 10/28/13.]—Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence

[Page 103]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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