From the Booker-shortlisted author of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour comes a hilarious novel about fathers, sons, thwarted dreams and confronting the reality of who we really are
‘This is a fine American novel about family, love, and a decent but flawed man trying to be better. In dark times like these, I can’t recommend this book too highly. It’s strong’ Stephen King on Twitter
Charlie Barnes is a mid-century man devoted to his newspaper and his landline. But Charlie is about to get dragged into our troubled age by his storyteller son, who has a different idea of him than he has of himself. Then there are his other children, his ex-wives, present wife, business clients, friends and acquaintances, all of whom have their competing opinions of Charlie.
He certainly seems simple enough: he’s a striver, a romantic, and a thoroughgoing capitalist. But suddenly blindsided by the Great Recession and a dose of bad news, he might have to rethink his life from top to bottom, and on short notice. What makes a man real? What makes him good? And how does the story we tell about ourselves line up with the lives that we actually live?
‘Funny, moving, and formally a work of genius, A Calling for Charlie Barnes is quite literally the book Joshua Ferris was born to write’ Garth Risk Hallberg, author of City on Fire
‘Dazzling. Mind-blowing. About as much fun as you can have without risking arrest’ Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls
‘Wonderful: fast and deep, urgent and brilliant . . . A hilarious, intimate, and scathing takedown of so many American vanities’ Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia