Design Flaws of the Human Condition

Front Cover
Broadway Books, 2007 - Fiction - 323 pages
4 Reviews

As can only happen in New York, two strangers find themselves railroaded into an anger-management class, where they soon become fast friends. Iris is there because of an eminently justifiable meltdown on a crowded flight, whereas Ken got caught defacing library books with rude (but true!) messages about his former boyfriend. The boyfriend that he caught in bed with another man.

Needless to say, Iris and Ken were cosmically destined to be friends. What follows is a strikingly original comedy as Ken enlists Iris to infiltrate his ex-boyfriend’s life in the hope of discovering that he’s miserable. And Iris reciprocates, dispatching Ken to work himself into the confidence of her own boyfriend, whom she suspects of cheating. But what if Ken’s ex isn’t crying himself to sleep? What if he’s not the amoral fiend Ken wants to believe he is? And what should Iris do when her worst suspicions start to come true? Exactly how perfect do we have the right to expect our fellow human beings to be?

Anger, betrayal, loyalty, and friendship—Design Flaws of the Human Condition explores these universal themes with wisdom, compassion, and a wickedly irreverent sense of humor.

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An indulgent tale of two recent acquaintances, one straight, one gay, who help each other deal with their issues.Revenge is sweet but excesses are irritating in Schmidtberger's debut, purportedly a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - omphalos02 - LibraryThing

Amusing story of friendship between Ken & Iris in New York, and their attempts to come to grips with betrayal, anger and revenge - among other things. Some of the writing seemed to run off on tangents when I was really hoping he would just get to the point, but overall a very readable style. Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2007)

PAUL SCHMIDTBERGER was born and raised in Schooley’s Mountain, New Jersey, and currently lives in Paris. He is a graduate of Yale College and Stanford Law School, and is a member of the California State Bar. This is his first novel.

Bibliographic information