At age forty-five Benjamin Mandelbaum hits a snag in his otherwise charmed life. When his wife kicks him out of their house, he returns to his childhood home in Connecticut to live with his widowed father. It's the type of quiet suburban enclave where life goes peacefully, without a hitch--until that eventful autumn when Benjamin recognizes someone down the street: his high school crush, the untouchable Audrey Martin. Audrey has just moved to the neighborhood with her high-powered lawyer husband and their rebellious teenager, Emily. As it turns out, Audrey isn't so untouchable anymore, and she and Benjamin fall into an affair that has consequences that neither of them could have foreseen. Meanwhile, as the neighborhood is wracked by a mysterious series of robberies, Audrey seems to be hiding a tragic secret, and her husband, Andrew, becomes involved in a dangerous professional game he can never win. And, by the way, who is paying attention to Emily?
HOUSEBREAKING explores the ways that two families-and four lives-can all too easily veer off track, a portrait of modern suburban life that reveals how little we sometimes know of one another's lives.
"Housebreaking looks behind the facade of a suburban neighborhood and tells the truth about love and lust, marriage and family, youth and aging, grief and loss. These characters are as real as anybody I know, men and women in the jump of life. Dan Pope is a writer of extraordinary insight, wit and heart." --Jennifer Haigh, author of Faith.
"Housebreaking is a necessary American novel of rare beauty and power, of unkillable human striving in the face of so much human failure. Pope's vision, his fidelity to the multihued and paradoxical truths of our ordinary lives, produces more than potent writing: what he speaks in these pages sounds like a courage our kind cannot do without." --William Giraldi, author of Hold the Dark.
"Housebreaking is a trenchant, captivating, and stirring novel, the kind of book you want to finish in one sitting, but instead choose to savor. The characters are deeply nuanced and beautifully flawed, and they're rendered with such sympathy that we come to know them like our own neighbors, like ourselves. I've long admired Dan Pope's luminous writing, and Housebreaking confirms his place among our finest writers." --Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This.
"Unflinching and sometimes brutal, Dan Pope's novel Housebreaking hooks the reader-tacking between grief and lust, manipulation and fear- as it races to a conclusion that is both satisfying and surprisingly tender. Pope is a sophisticated, sensitive, and astonishing writer." --Sabina Murray, author of Tales from the New World and The Caprices.
"Like Richard Russo, Dan Pope has a solid grasp of small-town sorrow and middle-aged crazy. Housebreaking is a smart, surehanded novel about sex, love and the confusions of desire." -- Stewart O'Nan, author of West of Sunset.
"I could gush here about the roller coaster twists and turns in Housebreaking. Or I could marvel at the contemporary spin Dan Pope gives the suburban novel that Richard Yates and John Cheever made familiar. But instead I will simply say that Housebreaking is exciting and wonderful from start to finish, and that you must must read it and discover its pleasures for yourself." --Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and The Obituary Writer.
BUY IN THE CHERRY TREE
IN THE CHERRY TREE
"Watergate hearings are in full swing. Evil Knievel is traveling the country. And in an East Coast suburb, 12-year-old Timmy is surviving a summer that's both tumultuous and commonplace. His best friend starts hanging out with older kids; his parents split apart. Pope's accomplished first novel perfectly captures the shadowy, charged age of early adolescence. Orange-peel wars, tree houses, and baseball cards coexist with nearly constant 'boners' and dramatic masturbation techniques. Pope's dialogue is heartbreaking and real; his characters sympathetic in their gross imperfections. But best is Timmy's voice--detached and never too self-aware. Pope never tells too much, and the clipped, spare descriptions will draw readers straight into Timmy's unspoken loneliness, confusion, and sweet, wild joy."
--Booklist, American Library Association.