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Look Inside | Reading Guide
Nov 02, 1999
| ISBN 9780449004227
Dec 08, 2010
| ISBN 9780307761316
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Nov 02, 1999 | ISBN 9780449004227
Dec 08, 2010 | ISBN 9780307761316
A self-made New Yorker well into his middle age, Thomas Mistler has long been a lion of Madison Avenue’s powerful advertising world. Now, poised to sell his company for a luxurious sum, Mistler receives alarming news: He has only months to live. But his reaction is not what one would expect. Rather than hysteria, Mistler experiences a sense of clarity and a feeling of being set free. From what, he is unsure. In a decision that breaks the mold of his superbly organized routine, Mistler conceals his illness from his family and seeks a moment of grace to be savored alone in the decadent splendor of Venice. There, he meets a young, lustful photographer and, later, a love from his youth. But his attempts to recapture passion only magnify the reconciliations he has yet to make–with the father to whom he sacrificed his own dreams, the son with whom he has never truly accepted, and the wife to whom he has given everything but respect.A startling blend of grace and satire, Mistler’s Exit is charged with unexpected moments of beauty and eroticism, pathos and humor. Like the city of Venice itself, it is a creation of timeless appeal.
Thomas Mistler has always thought himself “a happy man, as the world goes.” A scion of old money, he made his own fortune in advertising and is now poised to sell the company he founded for a fabulous price. But when a medical examination reveals the presence in his liver of a fatal intruder, “preposterously, unmistakably, he begins to rejoice,” with a feeling of having been set free. But free from what?He will seek the answer surreptitiously, without revealing his illness to his family, during a last reprieve, a moment of grace in “the one place on earth where nothing irritates him.” But amidst the surreal beauties of Venice, he finds bitterness and chaos as he allows himself to drift for the first time. His halfhearted efforts to seize the day and its present pleasures–first with a striving young photographer and later with a love of his youth who never loved him–cannot compete with his need to commune with the living and the dead that crowd his life: his father and uncle, pillars of the Establishment, sources of the “genetic puritanism” he has never tried to resist; his son, Sam, whose love he has only barely salvaged; his wife, once perfectly “beautiful and suitable,” now humiliated by him and half-scorned. And the one woman who embodies everything he might have wished for, a woman he “never had and never lost.”Deeply poignant yet mordantly funny, Mistler’s Exit brilliantly discloses the pleasures and miseries of having it all. A masterly revelation of the complexities of the heart. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Louis Begley’s Memories of a Marriage.
Louis Begley’s novels include Memories of a Marriage, Schmidt Steps Back, Matters of Honor, Shipwreck, Schmidt Delivered, Mistler’s Exit, About Schmidt, As Max Saw It, The Man Who Was Late, and Wartime Lies, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Irish Times/Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize. His latest novel, Kill and… More about Louis Begley
"Magnificent . . . A Death in Venice for our time."–San Francisco Chronicle"IN THIS FINE NOVEL, BEGLEY PROBES WITH INTELLIGENCE AND SKILL THE MIND AND HEART OF A FAMOUS, FANTASTICALLY WEALTHY NEW YORKER NEARING THE END OF HIS LIFE."–The Boston Sunday Globe "INTRIGUING . . . PROFOUND . . . A STUNNINGLY SOBERING PORTRAIT."–Los Angeles Times
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