When Bad Things Happen to Rich People

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9780875807096: When Bad Things Happen to Rich People

When Bad Things Happen to Rich People is a novel of social satire, a black comedy set in Chicago in the summer of 1995. The novel’s protagonist, Nix Walters, is an adjunct instructor of English at a communications college in the loop with few prospects for advancement. He had become a literary punch line when his novel, touted as the next big literary phenomenon, was universally panned by critics. He and his pregnant wife, Flora, are struggling financially; however, their fortunes change when Nix is asked to ghostwrite the memoirs of publishing magnate Zira Fontaine. While grateful for a lavish author fee, Nix quickly finds his marriage, his career, and his sense of identity threatened as he struggles with a difficult subject, navigates office intrigue of Fontaine’s corporation, and faces impending fatherhood. These tensions come to a turbulent climax when a brutal heat wave hits the city.

Written in the spirit of great naturalist novelists of the previous century, such as Dreiser, Norris, and Crane, with a black comic twist, Morris’s first novel is a study in aspiration and self-deception in the face of unforeseen adversity. Set among the broad lawns of Lake Forest where the domestic staff skim leaves from the pool and the sweltering streets of Chicago’s pre-gentrified Wicker Park neighborhood, where children plunge into the raging stream of open fire hydrants, When Bad Things Happen to Rich People is a broad panorama of our current social reality.

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About the Author:

Ian Morris is lecturer in creative writing and publishing at Columbia College in Chicago and is the founding editor of Fifth Star Press.

Review:

“When Bad Things Happen to Rich People is an interesting rumination on aspirations and motives. Satirical and funny, it is neither neat nor simple. For those who like to take a little bitter with the sweet, Morris’s debut novel is a good thing.”
Chicago Book Review

“This is a seriously funny and smart contemporary American novel. In When Bad Things Happen to Rich People, Ian Morris gives us a snapshot of mid-1990’s Chicago and its northern suburb, Lake Forest, in much the same way Jonathan Franzen presented us with the a swath of the Midwest in The Corrections, and John Cheever gave us the leafy, boozy suburbs of the East coast. A great read!”
—Margaret McMullan, author of In My Mother's House

"Before I could say 'what bad things?' Morris's deft prose spun me headlong into a foreboding waltz between wary partners—determined, multilayered women; men of fetching wit and meh backbone—a swirl of aspirations, flaws, tensions and attractions heading toward what all-too-patient fate (as Morris describes it) will deign to unleash. Glitteringly good things, too, happen in this spirited contemporary tale, among them how Morris nails dialogue, detail, and (laugh-out-loud) observations on teaching, writing, corporate culture, social activism, the poor-ish and the rich, gilding this smartly told novel into a richness of its very own."
—Arthur Plotnik, author, Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style

"In his astonishing first novel, at once poetic and realistic, Ian Morris has, with exquisite detail and a powerhouse narrative, created a world that is impossible not to visualize and travel through emotionally. From the city's scruffy corridors of academia, to the perfectly polished appointments of a Lake Forest mansion and the highrise views of a corporation's headquarters and through the sounds of gunshots in a north side neighborhood, the multi-issue screams of protestors at a chaotic rally and the suffocating heat of a Chicago summer, a tour de force of a book about a city and some of its inhabitants has been realized in both personal and profound ways"
Susan Hahn, author of The Six Granddaughters of Cecil Slaughter

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Book Description Northern Illinois University Press, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When Bad Things Happen to Rich People is a black comedy set in Chicago. Its protagonist, Nix, is a college instructor whose novel has flopped. Although he and his pregnant wife are struggling financially, their fortunes change when Nix is asked to ghostwrite the memoirs of publishing magnate Zira Fontaine. While grateful for the money, Nix finds his marriage, career, and identity threatened as he struggles to write, navigates the intrigues of Fontaine s corporation, and faces fatherhood. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780875807096

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Book Description Northern Illinois University Press, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When Bad Things Happen to Rich People is a black comedy set in Chicago. Its protagonist, Nix, is a college instructor whose novel has flopped. Although he and his pregnant wife are struggling financially, their fortunes change when Nix is asked to ghostwrite the memoirs of publishing magnate Zira Fontaine. While grateful for the money, Nix finds his marriage, career, and identity threatened as he struggles to write, navigates the intrigues of Fontaine s corporation, and faces fatherhood. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780875807096

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Book Description Switchgrass Books, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Trade Paperback. 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches with 224 pp. Author is lecturer in publishing at Columbia College in Chicago and founding editor of Fifth Star Press. Bookseller Inventory # 52105

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