The David Sedaris-like protagonist makes his living by ghost-writing celeb quickie memoirs: "Downhill All the Way! is about a skier; "Hot Seat!" is about a stock car driver... you get the idea. He finds the ideal little Tuscan villa to fix up, while satirizing every posh ex-pat book since the 1990s. But wait! There's a new neighbor, Marta--a shabby composer from a sketchy Eastern Bloc family--who absolutely insists on sharing our hero's penchant for 80-proof Fernet. A riotous farce worthy of rereading every few years.
I acquired my first copy from a display table at Looking Glass Books in Portland, Oregon.
Somehow, this incredible book about things I know nothing about--being a sister, growing up Mennonite, parenthood--grabbed me tight. Once I started, I carried it everywhere until I finished. It's not light and fluffy; it's not a globe-traversing multi-generational epic. It's a perfect little gem of a novel.
This is finally legally available in paperback after years as a clothbound-only release. Worth the wait.
Remember when novels conveyed the truth of a time and place through the life of a single character? DeWeese's protagonist crosses paths with Old Portland bicycle mechanics, New California money, and the life of one man caught in the middle. This is the novel John Cheever or Gustave Flaubert would have written about Obama-era Portland, Oregon, had they lived to see it.