Published by Little, Brown on 3/25/2014
Buy from IndieBound
In his early sixties, Anders Hill is late for his mid-life crisis, but finds himself quitting his job and divorcing his wife. After being completely cut off from his old life and re-establishing himself in an empty condo, Anders makes the mistake of showing up at the holiday party his former circle of friends has been attending for years. Before the night is through, Anders will meet his wife’s new flame, find himself outcast with the host’s teenage son and set forth on a path fumbling toward late adulthood.
Though the basic premise of The Land of Steady Habits is one we’ve seen before, it’s clear from the first page of the novel that the writing is what sets the story apart. In dry, but deep third-person prose and chillingly honest dialogue, Thompson follows Anders through his late life unraveling without the overuse of tropes or devices.
“It had always troubled him that the moment you reached a point in your career where you had the means to improve a house was also the same moment you no longer had a family to live in it.”
Scenes, memories and interactions cut into the forward motion of Anders’ new choices, giving readers a picture of his time in college, early relationship and years with his children. Over the course of the short novel, Thompson is able to frame out an entire life while also detailing its spiraling out of control. The Land of Steady Habits is a debut novel well deserving of the comparisons it is receiving, but also worthy of high praise in its own right.
If you’re lucky enough to be in New York or Connecticut, Ted is doing an amazing whistle-stop book tour on March 29th. He will be taking a train to four independent bookstores to sign copies of The Land of Steady Habits and talk about the book in the Northeast.