Falling Sideways

Thomas E. Kennedy, Bloomsbury, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-60819-081-2
The frustrating second installment to Kennedy's Copenhagen Quartet (after In the Company of Angels) spends a bitter autumn with several employees of the Tank, a downsizing Danish company whose business is a mystery even to some of its executives. Harald Jaeger, the book's most engaging character, is a bewildered womanizer whose villainous ex-wife absurdly accuses him of molesting their young daughters. Frederick Breathwaite, erudite, alcoholic, impotent, and suicidal, is a Tank higher-up, and accordingly gets canned. As part of his settlement, he negotiates a job for his bohemian son, Jes. All the Tank's workers are vulnerable to the axe wielded by CEO Martin Kampman, whose own rebellious son falls in love with the family's au pair and under the spell of Jes, whose supposed sense of humor and charisma don't exist on the page. We get some amusing observations of office culture, some tired riffs on, for instance, American profanity and antismoking rhetoric, and much sex and lust (and unfortunate prose thereof). Kennedy's descriptions of Copenhagen draw a pleasing map in the reader's mind, but his generational conflicts are familiar and his skein of thin story lines seems like a lot of too little. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 03/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-60819-443-8
Hardcover - 290 pages - 978-1-4088-1239-6
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4088-2619-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-4088-2201-2
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-1-60819-442-1
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