Brothers George and Harry are celebrating Thanksgiving at George’s house. George’s kids are sitting at the table playing with various gadgets while his ‘hangers on’ surround him and hang on ever word. Harry is doing clean up duty with his sister-in-law Jane who he secretly likes. As he brings dishes into the kitchen Jane brushes against him in a very friendly way. When Harry mentions this to his wife Clare later that night she laughs at him and tells him he is imagining things.
Harry gets a call a few days later from Jane saying that George has been arrested after a car accident in which he kills a couple and leaves the son injured. He collects his brother from the police station and brings him home. After a trip to the hospital in which he is placed in the psych ward he takes Jane home and stays with her at the suggestion of his wife Clare who thinks Jane should not be left alone. Jane has feelings for Harry and she throws herself at him that night. It is the start of a long strange string of events that changes everybody’s lives.
Harry is thrust into the role of caretaker of George’s children after a bizarre set of events. He is juggling his career as a professor of history, Richard Nixon being his topic of choice, attempting to write a book about Nixon, caring for his pre-teen niece and nephew who are lost among the ruins of events. Harry stumbles his way through to being a parent to them. Along the way he is stalked by a ‘lunch sex date’ woman who just can’t leave him alone, he also has another strange woman confront him at a supermarket and follows him home.
This is a long strange trip where Harry ‘adopts’ a ragtag bunch of misfits, finds himself blamed for everything that has happened, loses his job, suffers medical problems and finds himself ostracized by society for the crimes his brother has committed. This guy is a modern day Job out of the Bible. He eventually gets to love his niece and nephew and sorts out his own demons with some help from a very strange place.
This is a wonderful novel of self discovery, strength and a lot of dark comic humor. It is about forgiving and acceptance.
While I really enjoyed this book the middle part dragged and some things were a bit outrageous but overall a good read.