From “one of the most prodigally gifted comic novelists writing in English today” (Newsweek), The Development is John Barth at his most accessible and sympathetic best.
CONTACT: Patrice Taddonio, Publicist
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company
“[A] merry satire about the smart, moneyed, and demanding retirees living in a gated community . . . As playful as ever, Barth is notably more lucid and tender here, and like Chesapeake Bay, about which he writes so affectionately, his stories are scintillating on the surface and churning with danger below.”—Booklist
“From the iconic Barth come nine darkly comic stories set in a gated community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore . . . a searing indictment of a certain sociological class in the later stages of life . . . Urbane, discursive and humorous, often bawdy and never sentimental . . . an accessible way for new readers to discover Barth, and his fans, of course, will eat this up.”—Publishers Weekly
“[A] low-key, clear-eyed, battered-but-unbowed portrait of the diminishments and minor pleasures of age. Barth’s prose still has its sinew and snap; he examines near-decrepitude with mordant, rueful wit.”—Kirkus Reviews
Something has disturbed the comfortably retired denizens of a pristine Florida-style gated community in Chesapeake Bay. In the dawn of the new millennium and the evening of their lives, these empty nesters discover that their tidy enclave can be as colorful, shocking, and surreal as any of National Book Award winner Barth’s fictional locales.
From the high jinks of a toga party to marital infidelities, a baffling suicide pact, and the sudden, apocalyptic destruction of the short-lived development, Barth brings mordant humor and compassion to the lives of characters we all know well.
In the words of David Leavitt, author of The Indian Clerk, “This is a memorable and very important book, at once a cunning portrait of the way we age now and a testament to John Barth’s status as one of the great writers of our time.”
JOHN BARTH’s fiction has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, and the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. For many years he taught in the Writing Seminars at John Hopkins University. He is the author of such seminal works as The Sot-Weed Factor, Chimera (for which he won the National Book Award), and Giles Goat-Boy. “Toga Party,” an excerpt from The Development, appeared in The Best American Short Stories 2007, edited by Stephen King.