Mistler's Exit

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Random House Publishing Group, Dec 8, 2010 - Fiction - 224 pages
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Thomas Mistler has always thought himself "a happy man, as the world goes." A scion of old money, he made his own fortune in advertising and is now poised to sell the company he founded for a fabulous price. But when a medical examination reveals the presence in his liver of a fatal intruder, "preposterously, unmistakably, he begins to rejoice," with a feeling of having been set free. But free from what?

He will seek the answer surreptitiously, without revealing his illness to his family, during a last reprieve, a moment of grace in "the one place on earth where nothing irritates him." But amidst the surreal beauties of Venice, he finds bitterness and chaos as he allows himself to drift for the first time. His halfhearted efforts to seize the day and its present pleasures--first with a striving young photographer and later with a love of his youth who never loved him--cannot compete with his need to commune with the living and the dead that crowd his life: his father and uncle, pillars of the Establishment, sources of the "genetic puritanism" he has never tried to resist; his son, Sam, whose love he has only barely salvaged; his wife, once perfectly "beautiful and suitable," now humiliated by him and half-scorned. And the one woman who embodies everything he might have wished for, a woman he "never had and never lost."

Deeply poignant yet mordantly funny, Mistler's Exit brilliantly discloses the pleasures and miseries of having it all. A masterly revelation of the complexities of the heart.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Louis Begley's Memories of a Marriage.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - William345 - LibraryThing

Begley loves to write about the 60-plus-year-old man, usually of considerable means, getting it on with a 25-year-old girl. He does it in the first two Schmidt books and he does it here in Mistler's ... Read full review

MISTLER'S EXIT

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Begley's fifth (About Schmidt, 1996; As Max Saw It, 1994, etc.) is the tale of a master of finance—advertising, actually—who faces terminal cancer with the same stiff upper lip and commanding ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
31
Section 3
58
Section 4
66
Section 5
74
Section 6
95
Section 7
108
Section 8
120
Section 9
144
Section 10
163
Section 11
183
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Louis Begley lives in New York City. His previous novels are Wartime Lies, The Man Who Was Late, As Max Saw It, and About Schmidt.


From the Hardcover edition.

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