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The Wanting Life

The Wanting Life

by Mark Rader


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"Mark Rader’s The Wanting Life is somehow both quiet and deeply unsettling. A profound meditation on what we owe others and also ourselves, it balances the pleasure of getting to know a handful of vivid characters with the disconcerting awareness that their moral choices are, seeming by design, as impossible as our own." —Richard Russo, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool

Set in Rome, Cape Cod, and Wisconsin over the course of the summer of 2009, and Rome during the spring of 1970, The Wanting Life tells the intertwined story of three members of the Novak family: Father Paul, a closeted gay Catholic priest who’s dying of cancer and has secrets he desperately wants to share; Britta, his self-destructive sister and caretaker, who’s struggling to find meaning in a world without her beloved husband; and Maura, Britta’s daughter—a thirty-nine-year-old artist who’s facing a choice between her husband and two children, or the man she believes is her one, true love.

Featuring one of most unconventional love stories you’ll read this year, The Wanting Life is both a compulsively readable family drama about the toll that secrets and loyalty can take on us, and a gorgeous meditation on the comforts (and limits) of faith and intimacy that calls to mind novels like Marilynne Robinson’s Home, Alice McDermott’s Charming Billy, and Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781944700997
Publisher: The Unnamed Press
Publication date: 02/25/2020
Sales rank: 579,364
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Mark Rader has had stories published in Glimmer Train, Epoch, The Southern Review and shortlisted for an O. Henry Award, the Best American Non-Required Reading anthology, and a Pushcart Prize. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Mark Rader's The Wanting Life combines the best of old-school storytelling— intricate psychology, respect for characters and serious exploration of faith— with contemporary candor and eroticism. Deeply complex and compulsively readable, this multi-generational story interrogates desire, truth, and what it means to lead a full life, in ways that are eternally urgent." —Gina Frangello, author of A Life in Men and Every Kind of Wanting

"There is an essential goodness at the core of Mark Rader’s wise, tender, and emotionally precise debut novel. In eloquent prose, Rader deftly illuminates three intertwined lives filled with longing, regret, desire, grace, and cautious hope – lives distinct yet poignantly familiar. I felt privileged to know their fears and secrets and to be in the hands of an author who explores them with such generosity and love." —Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men

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