Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226170565 Published November 2014
E-book $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226170732 Published November 2014

Reuben, Reuben

A Novel

Peter De Vries

Peter De Vries

448 pages | 1 line drawing | 5 1/4 x 8 | © 1956, 1962, 1964, 2014
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226170565 Published November 2014
E-book $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226170732 Published November 2014
Harking from the golden age of fiction set in American suburbia—the school of John Updike and Cheever—this work from the great American humorist Peter De Vries looks with laughter upon its lawns, its cocktails, and its slightly unreal feeling of comfort. A manic epic, Reuben, Reuben is really three books in one, tied together by a 1950s suburban Connecticut setting and hyper-literate cast of characters. A corruptible chicken farmer fearful for the fate of his beloved town, a womanizing poet from Wales (Dylan Thomas in disguise), and a hapless British poet-cum-actor-and-agent all take turns as narrator, revealing different, even conflicting views. But alcoholism, sexism, small-mindedness, and calamity challenge the high spirits of De Vries’s well-read suburbanites. Noted as much for his verbal fluidity and wordplay as for his ability to see humor through pain, De Vries will delight both new readers and old in this uproarious modern masterpiece.
Peter Buitenhuis | New York Times
“De Vries is that most serious of all individuals, a humorist. With a devilish eye and a merciless skill, he has chronicled the excesses, fantasies, and absurdities of the land of exurbia, particularly that strip of it that stretches along the Connecticut shore east of New York. He has made the region glow on the literary map as if it were illuminated by the phosphorescence of its own decay.”
Orville Prescott | New York Times
“De Vries’s new novel, Reuben, Reuben, is his longest, his most ambitious, and his best. . . . The comedy is still delightful and omnipresent, but the satire is more important and deadly serious.”
Kingsley Amis
“The funniest serious writer to be found on either side of the Atlantic.”
Jonathan Hiskes | Curator
“A trio of long out-of-print books, republished this fall by the University of Chicago Press, underscores the satirical brilliance of a mostly forgotten humorist. De Vries skewered a distinctly male form of idiocy, demonstrated by characters who are witty, well-spoken, and lacking what a later generation would call emotional intelligence.”
William Giraldi | The Millions
“De Vries was an editor at Poetry magazine, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and the author of some two dozen of the wittiest novels you’ll ever read, including the masterworks The Blood of the Lamb and Slouching Toward Kalamazoo, as well as The Tunnel of Love and Reuben, Reuben, just resurrected in handsome paperback by the University of Chicago Press. . . . A goulash of one-liners does not a novel make, and part of De Vries’s vitalizing talent lies in his storytelling efficiency, his deft command of narrative form. Told, with Rashomon effect, from three wildly distinct points of view—a scheming chicken farmer, a Welsh rake who might be Dylan Thomas, and an incompetent British actor—Reuben, Reuben excavates the suburban eccentricities of 1950s Connecticut. . . . Only those with a consummate lack of cleverness wield the word ‘clever’ as an insult, and De Vries demonstrates just how much can be done with a creative intelligence charged by the clever and satirical and ironic. Let us now praise those saints at the University of Chicago Press who possess the smarts and good taste to return to print a peerless American maestro of wit.”

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