Something old and something new mark Sayers's fifth novel (after The Distance Between Us), which will, sadly, leave most readers blue. Here, Sayers takes leave of Due East, SC, the setting of her previous novels, but revisits schizophrenic Tim Rooney, the aging philosophy professor of How I Got Him Back. When narrator Rooney's 27-year-old girlfriend, Baptist-turned-atheist Mary Faith Rapple, insists on marrying him in a Catholic church, Rooney panics and heads for New York City in search of his first wife. Driving his father's car and fighting for sanity, the fugitive encounters Angela, a blonde hitchhiker fleeing her own date at the altar. With Rooney in the throes of a nervous breakdown, the pair wind up in an upscale Soho loft, house guests of artsy SC expatriates. As he roams the city in a sometimes hallucinatory state, Rooney meets a former student, finds his ex-wife and suffers a succession of burlesque sexual failures. Meanwhile, at the insistence of Due East's aging Catholic priest, Mary Faith heads north to save her lover. Sayers's prose is bracing as always here.
Valerie Sayers was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina, USA which became the thinly disguised Due East of her fiction, and educated in New York, where she lived for many years. She is the author of six novels, including The Powers, her most recent. Her literary awards include a Pushcart Prize for fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship. A professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, USA where her students keep her hopping, she publishes stories, essays, and reviews widely.