cover image Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place

David Leavitt. Bloomsbury, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-1-62040-487-4

Leavitt (The Two Hotel Francforts) turns a gimlet eye on a group of wealthy New Yorkers whose lives revolve around the excitable Eva Lindquist. After the 2016 election, Eva sets out to buy an apartment in Venice so she can sit out Trump’s presidency safely in Europe. Eva’s earnest husband, Bruce, is a wealth management consultant who’s amassed a considerable fortune and accepts that Eva “does the wanting and I do the paying.” He acquiesces to purchasing a dilapidated place Eva describes as a “decorator’s dream.” Eva is accompanied on her numerous trips to Venice by Min Marable, a lifelong friend who readily name-drops every magazine she’s ever worked at, from Good Housekeeping to Mademoiselle, while Bruce helps his assistant, Kathy, as she goes through chemotherapy treatments for non-Hodgkins lymphoma after her husband left her. Leavitt gleefully skewers his characters and those in their orbit—top-tier Manhattan decorators get into internecine fights, and a recently fired book editor friend of the Lindquists excoriates what he calls the “fucking Jonathans” (Foer, Franzen, Lethem, etc.)——and nearly pulls off a surprise ending, which, though out of left field, adds to the amusement. This irresistible, laugh-out-loud romp is a winner. (Oct.)