Author(s): David Leavitt
It is the summer of 1940, and Lisbon is one of the only neutral ports 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 S. S. Manhattan, two couples meet: Pete and Julia Winters, expatriate Americans fleeing their sedate life in Paris; and Edward and Iris Freleng, elegant, independently wealthy, bohemian, and beset by the social and sexual anxieties of their class. Swept up in the tumult, the hidden currents of the lives of these four characters - Julia's status as a Jew, Pete and Edward's affair, Iris's increasingly desperate efforts to save her tenuous marriage - begin to come loose. This journey will change the four of them irrevocably, as Europe sinks into war.
A taut and subtle historical novel of two couples caught up in a world at war, from the acclaimed author of The Indian Clerk
We can always count on David Leavitt to bring buried desires to the surface and give the uncertainties of an era startling clarity in his fiction. Here in his glorious new novel, with his characters on the run from war and suspended in a precarious state of exile, he traces their efforts to create meaningful lives amidst the turmoil surrounding them. The result is a book that is artful, gripping, delicate, and fierce Joanna Scott, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Follow Me A loving exploration of one of the greatest collaborations of the past century ... a novel that brilliantly orchestrates questions of colonialism, sexual identity and the nature of genius Manil Suri on The Indian Clerk An insightful presentation of the entrancing, obsessive strangeness and beauty of pure mathematics in the Cambridge of Hardy and Ramanujah. A memorable feat Edmund White Excellent ... His Hardy is a superb creation ... The author also synthesises huge amounts of engrossing period gossip ... the snatches of backbiting and shop-talk richly convey the anxieties of the intellectual climate Saturday Telegraph Impressive ... Leavitt plunges us, like Ramanujan, into a world of academic squabbling and wartime privation Times Literary Supplement
David Leavitt's fiction has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize, the National Book Critics' Circle Award and the LA Times Fiction Prize, and shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Award. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Harper's and Vogue, 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.