In the Rooms

Tom Shone, St. Martin's/Dunne, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-62278-7
A flailing London literary agent relocates to New York and delves into the wilds of business and unlikely recovery in Shone's wry debut novel (after the pop film history Blockbuster). With his romantic life shelved and his work increasingly shaky, Patrick Miller has a chance close encounter with his faded literary hero, Douglas Kelsey, and impulsively follows him into what turns out to be an AA meeting. Patrick protests he doesn't belong at these meetings, more pointedly when he's greeted with unfamiliar generosity of spirit by a lively assortment of recovering alcoholics, but he keeps showing up in an effort to secure the rights to Douglas's long-delayed novel. Patrick's bafflement at recovery jargon is laced with rueful observations ("You were alcoholic just by virtue of being British, of course"), and as Patrick's quest for a literary coup deepens into friendship with the brusque but funny novelist, so does his relationship with Lola, a slightly too wise, slightly too perfect young woman. Shone's comic tone keeps a happier than expected ending free of mawkishness and offers some guarded optimism and self-acceptance, notions that work their way into Patrick's character with a hard-earned grace. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 11/22/2010
Release date: 04/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 327 pages - 978-0-09-192604-5
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-6052-6
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4481-0731-5
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