The Land of Steady Habits Hardcover – 25 Mar 2014
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About the Author
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.
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The slight dining comes from the fact that even as the main character flails in his emotional angst, it never seems to come from a place that seems real or even defined. The nebulous manner in which he lets his life unravel and the numbly passive way he goes about setting the unraveling in motion was just a bit too detached for me.
Another aspect I came away with was that the author seemed reluctant to let either the husband or his ex wife carry an unequal amount of perceived blame for the dissolution of their marriage. Every time one would be revealed to have seemed to be the more culpable, another element would be revealed that would mitigate or shift to the other.
But in the end, I was left feeling I had read a good if slight story that coupled the character's confusion and anger and sadness with the world with some clever insight and even a few laugh out loud moments. Despite the apathy I found myself rooting for the characters to end fulfilled if not happy. Thompson is definitely an author I shall be keeping the look out for in the future.
I highly recommend this book and it leaves me excited to see what Thompson will write in the future.
He hurts her deeply, and his adult children as well, but we never know why. One does not take on such deep change without deep motivations that we never learn Plus the author seems to have little knowledge of how divorce, especially at this stage of life, lacerates couples, families and all around them after which life is never the same.
Is all of this pain redeemed? Do people learn deep if difficult life lessons, to move on to a better place? Do relationships mature? Does Anders gain any wisdom from his self-inflicted catastrophe? Not really. We leave him as we found him, still estranged, still a prisoner to the financial system he abhors.
I'm no better off for knowing him.