“Ward Just is not merely America’s best political novelist. He is America’s greatest living novelist.”—Susan Zakin, Lithub
Ned Ayres has never wanted anything but a newspaper career. His defining moment comes early, when Ned is city editor of his hometown paper. One of his beat reporters fields a tip: William Grant, the town haberdasher, married to the bank president’s daughter and the father of two children, once served six years in Joliet. The story runs—Ned offers no resistance to his publisher’s argument that the public has a right to know. The consequences, swift and shocking, haunt him throughout a long career until eventually, as the editor of a major newspaper in post-Kennedy-era Washington, DC, Ned has reason to return to the question of privacy and its many violations—the gorgeously limned themes running through Ward Just’s elegiac and masterly new novel.
“A doggedly restrained character study that advances its themes obliquely through atmosphere and tone. Often, the effect is quietly, even elegiacally beautiful, evoking the rhythms of Ernest Hemingway’s early fiction . . . A quietly affecting, mournful achievement.” — Richmond Times-Dispatch
“In Just’s hands, the ambiguous motives behind the paper’s pursuit of the story are riveting . . . The novel stands on Just’s memorable study of Ned. Your heart goes out to this kindly, complex man who’s ‘not truly interested in the things of his own life, preferring the lives of others.’” — Seattle Times