Summary

Pulitzer Prize finalist Dee goes au courant with the story of a woman who returns to work when her corporate-lawyer husband loses all after an egregious act at the office. Helen, now in public relations, has a handy talent for getting powerful men to apologize for their misdeeds.


For readers of Jonathan Franzen and Richard Russo, Jonathan Dees novels are masterful works of literary fiction. In this sharply observed tale of self-invention and public scandal, Dee raises a trenchant question: what do we really want when we ask for forgiveness?
Once a privileged and loving couple, the Armsteads have now reached a breaking point. Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home--a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. Then, in one afternoon, Bens recklessness takes an alarming turn, and everything the Armsteads have built together unravels, swiftly and spectacularly.
Thrust back into the working world, Helen finds a job in public relations and relocates with Sara from their home in upstate New York to an apartment in Manhattan. There, Helen discovers she has a rare gift, indispensable in the world of image control: She can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances. Yet redemption is more easily granted in her professional life than in her personal one.
As she is confronted with the biggest case of her career, the fallout from her marriage, and Saras increasingly distant behavior, Helen must face the limits of accountability and her own capacity for forgiveness.
Praise for "A Thousand Pardons"
""A Thousand Pardons "is that rare thing: a genuine literary thriller. Eerily suspenseful and packed with dramatic event, it also offers a trenchant, hilarious portrait of our collective longing for authenticity in these overmediated times."--Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Visit from the Goon Squad"
"A page turner without sacrificing a smidgen of psychological insight. What a triumph."--"Kirkus Reviews "(starred review)
"Dee is adept at meshing the complexities of marriage and family life with the paradoxes of the zeitgeist. In his sixth meticulously lathed and magnetizing novel, he riffs on the practice of crisis management and] the absurdities of a society geared to communicate in a thousand electronic modes while those closest to each other can barely make eye contact.""--Booklist"
" A] fast-moving, consistently entertaining story . . . a smart, witty look at the rites of apology in contemporary America."--Shelf Awareness

"From the Hardcover edition."