It’s time for eighteen-year-old James Sveck to begin his freshman year at Brown. Instead, he’s surfing the real-estate listings, searching for a sanctuary—a nice farmhouse in Kansas, perhaps. Although James lives in twenty-first-century Manhattan, he’s more at home in the faraway worlds of Eric Rohmer or Anthony Trollope—or his favourite writer, the obscure and tragic Denton Welch. James’s sense of dislocation is exacerbated by his wilfully self-absorbed parents, a disdainful sister, his cryptic shrink, and an increasingly vague, D-list celebrity grandmother. Compounding matters is James’s growing infatuation with a handsome male colleague at the art gallery his mother owns, where James supposedly works at his summer job but where he actually plots his escape to the prairies.
In the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye, Peter Cameron paints an indelible portrait of a teenage hero holding out for a better grown-up world.