Phillip has a lot on his mind. At home, in his unnecessarily large, excessively expensive house, he is attempting to become a Taoist
master of love with his wife, Alice, but his quest is forever being interrupted by the requests of his twin daughters -- "Can we have a pony, please?"; "We want to go to boarding school." At work, in his shed/office at the bottom of the garden, between countless games of Minesweeper and FreeCell, Phillip is trying to pay the mortgage by writing the instruction manuals to Korean bread-making machines. And at parties where he is concerned that he is not taken seriously -- he is variously mistaken as a waiter and a rhinoplastic surgeon -- Phillip tells the world he is, in fact, a screenwriter.
Above all, Phillip is obsessing about his best friends, Barry and Sean. They are rich, more successful, and, most worryingly, they give great presents. Their gifts are always exquisite -- a full set of Italian crockery, a handmade corkscrew from Venice; they give them on birthdays, at parties, and quite often for no reason whatsoever; and, increasingly, these presents break all bounds of generosity.
They are gifts that hurt a man's pride. And they can never be matched. Which doesn't mean Phillip won't try. . . .
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David Flusfeder is the author of three previous novels, including Man Kills Woman. Born in Summit, New Jersey, he now lives in London.From Publishers Weekly:
Black comedy meets social satire meets British farce in this winning novel by the author of Man Kills Woman, which shows how one man's generosity can become the source of another man's insanity. Phillip, an ex-football (as in soccer) star and a vaguely hapless instruction manual writer, is best friends with couple Barry and Sean, who are so rich and nice that they shower Phillip and his family with lavish gifts-skiing vacations, rare Chinese carvings and priceless Venetian corkscrews. With each new present he receives, Phillip becomes more obsessed with finding the perfect return gift. Repeated failures leave him so overwhelmed by gift inadequacy ("I had lost. I had been defeated utterly... I was the inferior man") that his attempts at reciprocation begin to look more like revenge. A sketchy fellow named Carlo-whom Phillip meets in jail after a dinner party gone awry-feeds Phillip's anxieties, and soon Phillip is sneaking into Barry and Sean's home in the middle of the night to perform a "creepy-crawly": shifting around their personal possessions and inadvertently killing one of the chinchilla rabbits he'd given them as a gift. Flusfeder's delightfully spare prose makes room, too, for the search for cult hero and erstwhile Pink Floyd guitarist Syd Barrett, with whom Barry is obsessed; movie world excesses, displayed by Barry and Sean's fancy friends; parenting anxiety; and lots of Taoist sex-though why Phillip's wife, Alice, remains eternally willing despite his near-psychosis is a bit of a mystery. This is a witty, razor-sharp novel, with just the right amount of tenderness.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, London UK, 2003. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. No Jacket. 1st Edition. Trade Paperback. Mint, unread ARC/uncorrected proof copy of this D L Flusfeder novel published in 2003. 315 pages. Fine. Bookseller Inventory # 000154
Book Description London, United Kingdom: Fourth Estate Ltd, 2003, London, United Kingdom, 2003. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Hard Cover. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. This is a crisp new copy in a new mylar protected DJ. Signed by author on f.f.e.p. With red signed first edition banner around the DJ. Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 013124
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: Mint. Dust Jacket Condition: Mint. First Edition. First printing. Signed first edition with immaculate red band around dj announcing the fact. This first printing dj has the appliqued hand holding two tickets on the front cover. Bookseller Inventory # 122986
Book Description Fourth Estate, London, 2003. HARDCOVER. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Octavo size (8vo) in dustwrapper with the 'rodent' sticker below title on front panel (as issued by the publisher on the first few hundred copies, later copies of the first printing had a wrap around band instead). Signed (with no other inscription) by author on first blank fly-leaf . . . . . [ CONDITION : NEW unread copy in NEW unclipped Dust Jacket ] . Bookseller Inventory # T37215AU