Baker & Taylor A Jew from Central Europe stumbles into an urgent affair with a troubled woman, and while his business sends him around the world, his thoughts return to the terrible past he can never forgive himself for experiencing
Blackwell North Amer Ben is a fiercely self-made man. Born somewhere in Central Europe, he arrives in America after the end of World War II with his parents and watches as their lives are "emptied of meaning by the New World." But for himself: an exemplary career at Harvard and immersion in the good life - "good above all in its difference from the one in which he feared he might be confined." Nothing can slow his indefatigable and timely progress from pleasure to pleasure. He is gracious, generous, worldly, charmingly self-deprecating - and dead by his own hand before he reaches middle age. The Man Who Was Late is the story of the last two year's of Ben's life, told by his closest friend, Jack, who pieces the facts together from his own memory and from the personal papers that come into his possession as executor of Ben's will. It is the story, most particularly, of Ben's tumultuous love affair with Jack's cousin Veronique, a woman whose dazzling beauty masks darkness and disquiet. With Veronique, Ben discovers "the vast bliss of being loved." But when her husband learns of the affair and a commitment to Veronique is required, Ben discovers his own fragility - and the brutal hold his past has on him. Business keeps him on a trajectory that circles the globe, from Paris to Tokyo, from Rio to New York and to Geneva. Meanwhile his thoughts travel in one direction only: away from Veronique and toward the self-loathing and inconsolable loneliness that lurk behind the gleaming facade of the life he has invented. And recounting the story, Jack comes to understand why Ben believed himself to be "late in the major matters of existence." Beautifully rendered and profoundly affecting - at once elegiacal and sardonic - The Man Who Was Late is a powerful confirmation of Louis Begley's extraordinary novelistic gifts.
Baker & Taylor A Jew from central Europe stumbles into an urgent affair with a troubled woman, and while his business sends him around the world, his thoughts return to the terrible past he can never forgive himself for experiencing. 25,000 first printing. $25,000 ad/promo.