A man is torn between his perfect wife and a fascinating young man in an unconventional, inescapable love triangle. Thirty-year-old Kent McKutcheon has come to Atlanta with little ambition beyond his earnest desire to grow up and be a good person. But after a year of contented, stable existence with his Mennonite wife, Maggie, a defense attorney with a passion for social justice, Kent has failed to eradicate his private longing for Paul, the lover who abandoned him three years before. When an accidental meeting resuscitates their affair, the passion they share privately soon threatens to destroy the public persona each man has created. Paul is a promising acting student who is unhappily bound to another man, a much older, ailing college professor who is failing to provide the love and sense of family which Paul now realizes he wants. A former wild-child, he craves the aura of home and stability that Kent seems to have with his wife. Frustrated with Kent s guilt-ridden angst and repeated efforts to end their affair, and eager to find the sense of love and comfort which seems otherwise unavailable in his world, Paul pushes closer to Kent s marriage, ultimately developing a fixation on Maggie herself. In a single night that slips out of control, the volatile mix of emotions leads to murder, and all three characters are suddenly more involved with each other s lives than they could have foreseen, and none can hope to escape unscathed.
Sheri Joseph's latest novel is Stray, winner of the Grub Street National Book Prize. An unconventional love triangle leads to murder in this tale set in Atlanta. Two of Stray's central characters also appear in Joseph' first book, Bear Me Safely Over, a cycle of stories about two Georgia families being joined by marriage, which was a Book Sense 76 selection in both hardcover and paperback.
Joseph was awarded a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for the first chapter of her next novel, currently in progress, which is set in Costa Rica.
Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals including The Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Shenandoah, Virginia Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner and Other Voices and in the anthologies Birds in the Hand (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux) and After O'Connor: Stories from Contemporary Georgia (University of Georgia Press). Her work has been a finalist for the Townsend Prize, Lambda award, and the National Magazine Award, among others. A resident of Atlanta, she teaches in the creative writing program at Georgia State University and serves as fiction editor of Five Points.
“In her debut novel, Joseph weaves all of their worlds together with expert tension after she has Kent lose his grip on his double love life….Supporting characters like Paul’s controlling sugar daddy and Maggie’s wholesome sister add depth to this achingly poignant and believable portrayal of love, deceit, jealousy and heartbreak.” ”
— Time Out New York
Publication Date: February 15, 2008
trim size: 8.9 x 6 x 1.2