The new novel from the acclaimed poet and publisher asks fundamental questions about love and sex, friendship and rivalry, desire and power, and the age-old dance of benevolence and attraction between teacher and student.
Sam Brandt is a long-term denizen of Connecticut’s renowned Leverett School. As an English teacher he has dedicated his life to providing his students with the same challenges, encouragement, and sense of possibility that helped him and his friends become themselves here half a lifetime ago.
Then Leverett’s headmaster asks Sam to help investigate a charge brought by one of his classmates that he was abused by a teacher. Sam is flooded with memories, above all of his overwhelming love for his friend Eddie and the support of his most inspiring mentor, Theodore Gibson.
Sam’s search for the truth becomes a quest to get at the heart of Leverett, then and now. The school has changed enormously over the years, but at its core lie assumptions about privilege and responsibility untested for more than a century. And Sam’s assumptions about his own life are shaken, too, as he struggles to understand what really happened all those years ago.
Jonathan Galassi is the chairman of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He is a former poetry editor for the Paris Review, a former chairman of the Academy of American Poets, and the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship for poetry. He is the author of the three poetry collections, the novel "Muse" and an eminent translator of Italian poetry.
Martha McPhee is the author of the novels "An Elegant Woman," "Dear Money," "L’America," "Gorgeous Lies," and "Bright Angel Time." Her work has been honored with fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2002, she was nominated for a National Book Award. She is a tenured member of the English Department at Hofstra University, where she teaches fiction.