The Green Suit

Allen, Dwight

Published by Algonquin Books, 2000
ISBN 10: 1565122747 / ISBN 13: 9781565122741
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1565122747 Author's first book. Dj blurb by T. Coraghessan Boyle. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: The Sackriders are a well-to-do Kentucky family. They are well-bred, reserved, intelligent, affluent. The mother is a neighborhood legend. The father is a highly regarded judge. And the children, well, the children are real disappointments.

By the time the book's almost over, the daughter has slept her way across the United States to the West Coast where she's having a nervous breakdown.

And the son, Peter, whose story The Green Suit mostly is, kind of wants to be a writer, or an editor, maybe. He's not really sure. After college, he does what wistful English majors do: he goes to New York and gets a little job in a publishing house. He falls in love with one bright, up-and-coming young woman after the other, all of whom charge ahead impatiently, leaving him to choke on their dust.

Peter looks to traditional mentors -- his father, the judge; a favorite teacher; two New York editor bosses -- and to less likely ones, including the Sackriders' longtime maid and the man with the green suit. He tries to engage. But somehow, he can't seem to bite down and break off anything solid to chew. Until his sister, having her nervous breakdown, lets him know she needs him.

Dwight Allen's brilliant first book is about love and betrayal, about a family splintering but not quite falling apart, about a brother and sister who exasperate and venerate one another as only a brother and sister can. Its message is one about he perils of self-absorption and noncommitment. And its moral? How good it feels to tunnel out to the light and connect.

From the Back Cover: The trousers were flared and the jacket lapels were as big as wings.

It was after eleven when I found my aunt's building, a brown-stone between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. A man was sitting on the stoop, taking the mild September air. He wore a suit that was a lizardy green. The trousers were flared and the jacket lapels were as big as wings. The suit brought words to mind predatory, naive, hopeful but none of them seemed quite right. The suit glowed in the sulphurous glow of the street lights, but it would have glowed in pitch dark, too.

I'm looking for somebody named Elvin, I said to the man on the stoop. I remembered that my aunt had mentioned that Elvin was from down South Mississippi, maybe. He's a hick just like you, honey, she'd said, except he's got a lot of mustard on him.

The man picked a piece of tobacco off the tip of his tongue and flicked it away. You're looking at him, bro, he said.

You're the building superintendent, right?

I guess I am, Elvin said. I'd rather be the Sultan of Swing, but you got to deal with the cards that get dealt to you, don't you? (from The Green Suit)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Green Suit
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition

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