Between You and Me in Los Angeles Review of Books

A generous and thoughtful review by Matt Seidel in LARB. Here are some highlights:

“All this to say that Between You and Me is a lovely, quiet novel. And yet part of the reason I enjoyed it as much as the more obstreperous works I’ve encountered recently … is because it is loudly quiet. The novel proclaims its quietness from the start with an epigraph from Wright Morris’s The Works of Love that establishes the parameters, and indeed the challenge, of the novel to come: “A man who headed no cause, fought in no wars, and passed his life unaware of the great public issues — it might be asked: why trouble with such a man at all?” (I say “challenge,” but then again, much of American fiction has never shied away from such men, especially when they live in the suburbs, that breeding ground of unfulfilled, surprisingly novelistic lives.)

But Nadelson does take great trouble — methodical, leisurely, rewarding trouble — with his man without qualities… Checking in on Paul over the years, nothing momentous occurs, wonderfully… Not that Paul doesn’t surprise us: he is capable of small acts of pettiness, self-aggrandizement, rebellion, and creativity, all rendered here with perfectly calibrated comic and emotional insight. Nadelson’s dry wit and sense of the ridiculous balance his hero’s more pathetic tendencies, and yet he resists minimizing Paul’s situation, which, along with Nadelson’s voice, still resounds in my ears.”

Read the whole review.

Scott Nadelson