New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's red cloth over black paper-covered boards, spine stamped in yellow and black, upper board stamped in yellow, rust endpapers, top edge stained black, original dust jacket.
First edition of New York writer Paula Fox’s best-known novel, a story about the disintegration of a marriage. Otto and Sophie Bentwood–affluent, middle-aged, and childless–live in their tastefully renovated brownstone in an unnamed gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood. As the problems of the "slum people" from the "outside world" reach their well-manicured home, the Bentwoods' relationship and values start to crumble. "Sometimes, over the years, that had happened, his not wanting to talk to her. It didn't mean he was angry. But sometimes, after a movie or a play or the company had gone home, he simply didn't want to talk to her, the kind of woman she was—Sophie—he thought about her, the kind of woman she was—and she was so tangled in his life that the time he had sensed she wanted to go away from him had brought him more suffering than he had conceived it possible for him to feel." Fox wrote a half-dozen novels for adults and more than twenty books for young people, though her fiction for adults was sometimes overlooked. She received a late-career revival thanks to Desperate Character’s 1999 reissue, after being out of print for years, with an introduction by Jonathan Franzen praising it as "simply one of the greatest novels ever written by an American." It was made into a film in 1971, directed by Frank D. Gilroy, and starring Shirley MacLaine and Kenneth Mars. Unclipped dust jacket with light wear and creasing along top edge. Near fine. Rare. Item #7927