From the PEN/Malamud Award-winning author of Lucky Girls comes a bold, intricately woven first novel about an enigmatic stranger who disrupts the life of one American family.
On Sale: August 15, 2006
Featuring: Yuan Zhao; Cece Traverses; Gordon Traverses
Add to Wish List
Fiction | Literature and Fiction
Yuan Zhao, a celebrated Chinese performance artist and
political dissident, has accepted a one year's artist's
residency in Los Angeles. He is to be a Visiting Scholar at
the St. Anselm's School for Girls, teaching advanced art,
and hosted by one of the school's most devoted families: the
wealthy if dysfunctional Traverses. But when their guest
arrives, the Traverses are preoccupied with their own
problems. Cece-devoted mother and contemporary art
enthusiast-worries about the recent arrest of her son, Max.
Unable to communicate with her husband, Gordon, a
psychiatrist distracted by his passion for genealogical
research, she turns to Gordon's wayward brother, Phil.
Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Olivia Travers is just
relieved that her classmates seem to be ignoring the weird
Chinese art teacher living in her pool house-at least until
a brilliant but troublesome new student appears in his
The dissident, for his part, is delighted to
be left alone. His relationship to the 1989 Democracy
Movement and his past in a Beijing underground artists'
community together give him reason for not wanting to be
scrutinized too carefully. The trouble starts when he and
his American hosts begin to see one another with clearer
A novel about secrets, love, and the shining
chaos of everyday American life, The Dissident is a
remarkable and surprising group portrait, done with a light,
sure hand. Reviewing Lucky Girls, the Seattle
Times praised Freudenberger's "merciless and often
hilarious eye for family dynamics, and her equally sharp eye
for cultures in collision." These talents and others are on
full display here, as the author captures her characters in
their struggles with art, with identity-and with one
another. As the New York Times Book Review observed,
"Young writers as ambitious-and as good-as Nell
Freudenberger give us a reason for hope."
No comments posted.
Registered users may leave comments.
Log in or register now!