“The writing is shapely and crafted; the characters glow.” GraceAnne A. DeCandido, Booklist
978-0-8021-4183-5 • $12.00 • Paperback • Mar. 2005
Hailed as “completely engaging and profoundly moving” by Peter Cameron and “beautifully written” by Margot Livesey, Justin Haythe’s assured debut has been compared to the work of Ford Madox Ford and F. Scott Fitzgerald by The Times Literary Supplement (London). A rising young screenwriting star in the film world, thirty-year-old Haythe landed squarely on the literary map with his very first publication, a story in Harper’s magazine. In his debut novel, The Honeymoon, he delivers a deeply observant and nuanced tale, set in London and Venice at the end of the twentieth century, in which a young man looks back on a series of events that have caused his life to unravel.
Until the age of twenty-one, American-born Gordon Garrety hasn’t reflected much on his unusual and peripatetic childhood, spent largely as the traveling companion of his eccentric mother, Maureen. Only when Gordon meets Annie, several years his senior and the daughter of a cabdriver from North London, does he begin to emerge from the sphere of his mother’s influence. The first time they meet, Gordon and Annie make love in a park and soon after are married.
Over the course of a year in London, Gordon and Annie construct for themselves an idea of married life, into which Maureen’s restless spirit occasionally intrudes. Accompanied by Maureen and her bibulous Swiss fiancé, Gerhardt, Annie and Gordon finally take their long-delayed honeymoon to Venice, where they are instantly seduced by the world’s most unlikely city. Yet the brilliance of Venice seems to distort rather than illuminate, and the story gathers a palpable intensity before a single act of absurd but devastating violence pricks their happy bubble and lays bare the emptiness at the core of their gilded lives.
Beautifully crafted, gently funny, and genuinely surprising, Justin Haythe’s remarkably assured debut will astound readers with its dead-on depiction of the dangers of desultory and privileged lives.