The Privileges, by Jonathan Dee
The Privileges
(Random House, 2010)
ISBN: 9781400068678
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Length: About 13 minutes



Jonathan Dee, author
Novelist Jonathan Dee

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Adam and Cynthia have it all, money, beautiful home and children. But does their privileged life bring more peril than success? Novelist Jonathan Dee explores this theme in his latest book, THE PRIVILEGES, and he talks with about his own trials as a successful author, offering some advice for those trying to break in..

THE PRIVILEGES, Jonathan Dee's fourth novel, was selected as a top fiction title by the American Booksellers Association's Indie Next List.

National Book Award winner Jonathan Franzen, author of THE CORRECTIONS, described Dee's new book as “A cunning, seductive novel about the people we thought we’d all agreed to hate. Dee’s case study of American mega-wealth is delicious page by page and masterly in its balancing of sympathy and critical distance.”

Other reviews also give the work high marks:

“Dee notably spurns flat portraits of greed, instead letting the characters' self-awareness and self-forgetfulness stand on their own to create an appealing portrait of a world won by risk.”¯ Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Thoughtful and bracingly unpredictable”—Kirkus

“Ensnaring tale of alienating wealth, in which Dee breaks fresh artistic ground with the sheer beauty and quiet poignancy of his prose. A suspenseful, melancholy, and acidly funny tale about self, family, entitlement, and life’s mysteries and inevitabilities.”¯Booklist

In the novel, smart, socially gifted, and chronically impatient, Adam, a Wall Street executive, and Cynthia, a stay at home mother, form such a strong union that they become a fortress against the rest of the world. With a beautiful Manhattan home, gorgeous children, and loads of cash, they are seemingly successful, but their single focus on their family’s progress and survival at any cost leads them down a selfish path of deception. They succeed in creating a life of almost boundless wealth and excitement, in which any desire can be acted upon and any ambition realized. As Cynthia, at home with the kids day after identical day, begins to drift, Adam is confronted with a choice that will test how much he is willing to risk to ensure his family’s happiness and to capture the sense that the only acceptable life is one of infinite privilege.

An odyssey of a couple touched by fortune, changed by time, and guided above all else by their overwhelming love for each other, THE PRIVILEGES is a provocative meditation on wealth, family, and what it means to leave the world richer than you found it.

Jonathan Dee is the author of four novels, most recently Palladio. He is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, a frequent contributor to Harper’s, and a former senior editor of the Paris Review. He teaches in the graduate writing programs at Columbia University and the New School.


–Doris Booth

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