Selected Reviews

"The moral disintegration of a man consumed by lust is the narrative frame of Begley's haunting new novel....[Begley] proves himself an astute observer of different social classes and the minute variations in their behavior invisible to those outside the inner circle...The entire story
is a brilliant exposition of the way authors can use the material of
their lives to create brilliant fiction."  Publisher's Weekly 

The Denver Post Review by John Freeman, November 2, 2003

The New York Sun "Among Books: A Peek Inside the Aristocratic Anthill" Review by Adam Kirsch, September 17, 2003

The Washington Post Book World  Review by Michael Dirda, September 14, 2003

Book Jacket Synopsis

John North, a prizewinning American writer, is suddenly beset by dark suspicions about the real value of his work. Over endless hours and bottles of whiskey consumed in a mysterious cafe called L'Entre Deux Mondes, he recounts, in counterpoint to his doubts, "the one story he has never told before," perhaps the only important one he will ever tell. North's chosen interlocutor--who could be his doppelganger--is transfixed by the revelations, and becomes the narrator of North's tale.  

North has always been faithful to his wife, Lydia, but when one of his novels achieves a special success, he allows himself a dalliance with Lea, a star struck young journalist. Coolly planning to make sure that his life with Lydia will not be disturbed, North is taken off guard when Lea becomes obsessed with him and he with her elaborate erotic games. As his hypnotic and serpentine confession unfurls, we gradually discover the extraordinary lengths to which North has gone to indulge a powerful desire for self-destruction.

Shipwreck is a daring parable of the contradictory impulses that can rend a single soul--narcissism and self-loathing, refinement and unbridled lust.

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Cover art property of Random House, Inc.--Do Not Reproduce

Copyright 2003-04, Louis Begley

Art work by Peter Begley--Do Not Reproduce