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In the anonymous office park of a modern software company, whip-smart software engineer Henry Hurt is a man in the middle: of life, of career, and of self-assessment. Mired in his corporate responsibilities, Henry's deathless office existence is torpedoed by the loss of his mother.
Haunted by her death, and by a strange angst he describes as "the pall," Henry seeks escape in a quest for love and purpose occasioned by a crisis in his company's fortunes. Dodging an Iago-like rival, one who stirs him to the decisive action of the book, he risks his livelihood, endangers his bond with his family, and is forced finally to confront the urgent question of his life.
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A former programmer, J. Bradford Hipps turned to fiction after a ten-year software career. He received his graduate degree from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, where he was awarded the Inprint Michener Prize. He lives with his wife and children in Texas. The Adventurist is his first novel.From Publishers Weekly:
Hipps's debut novel peels back the layers of one man's seemingly monotonous life to reveal the deeply felt desire beneath, and the consequences of embracing one's innate thirst for adventure. Henry Hurt is a software engineer at a corporation in an unnamed city in the American South. His mother died a year ago, he's nursing an attraction to a married co-worker, and the company for which he works is struggling to turn a profit. To break through his overwhelming angstâ€”or "the pall," as he calls itâ€”Hurt decides to take his life circumstances in his own hands, more doggedly pursuing both purpose and fulfillment in his work and love. But in so doing, he endangers his career and relationships, forcing him to question what can truly bring him contentment and meaning. Hurt is a fascinating, if at times frustrating, protagonist; his is a middling existence that obscures an existential dread. He's self-aware and observant, the perfect narrator for a story that feels like the slow-motion collapse of a man who's already on the edge when the reader meets him. But rather than leaving him to wallow, the novel ends on a sense of hope predicated on the potential in a clean break and a fresh start. Deeply human, at times funny, and laced throughout with reflection on the crushing weight of the familiar, this novel is an engaging and nuanced exploration of life. (Apr.)\n
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