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From National Book Award Finalist Joshua Ferris, a new novel about the American family in all messy forms, and one man at the head of it. But who gets to tell his story?

Someone is telling the story of the life of Charlie Barnes, and it doesn't appear to be going well. Too often divorced, discontent with life's compromises and in a house he hates, this lifelong schemer and eternal romantic would like out of his present circumstances and into the American dream. But when the twin calamities of the Great Recession and a cancer scare come along to compound his troubles, his dreams dwindle further, and an infinite past full of forking paths quickly tapers to a black dot.

Then, against all odds, something goes right for a change: Charlie is granted a second act. With help from his storyteller son, he surveys the facts of his life and finds his true calling where he least expects it – in a sacrifice that redounds with selflessness and love – at last becoming the man his son always knew he could be.

A Calling for Charlie Barnes is a profound and tender portrait of a man whose desperate need to be loved is his downfall, and a brutally funny account of how that love is ultimately earned.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"Ferris's prose is brash, extravagant, and chillingly beautiful."
The New Yorker
"Utterly compelling. . . . Ferris brilliantly channels the suburban angst of Yates and Cheever for the new millenium."
Booklist
"As he's demonstrated in each of his novels, Joshua Ferris is a writer who's keenly attuned to the unsettled quality of our times."
Bookreporter.com
"Plenty of novels, memoirs and cultural studies have explored the end of men or the failings of masculinity. But Ferris, a darkly comic writer who feels like the novelist equivalent of the filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, has managed to write a series of stories on the subject that feels fresh. His male characters mess up, in small and spectacular fashion, but their misdeeds often prompt our sympathy, thanks to Ferris's insightful narration."
Ian Shapira, Washington Post
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