Hailed as Elizabeth Spencer's best novel (Michael Gorra, New York Review of Books), this lost masterpiece of midcentury America traces the decline of the fortunate and the search for redemption in Kennedy-era America.
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Winner of 2013 Rea Award for short fiction “A rare and true master” (Richard Ford), the celebrated author of The Light in the Piazza returns with these spellbinding stories. Since her remarkable debut in 1948, Elizabeth Spencer has transfixed readers with her uncanny ability to portray how “twisted, chafing, inescapable, and…
Winner of five O. Henry Awards and the 2013 Rea Prize for Short Fiction, Elizabeth Spencer has long been considered a master of the short story, yet her novels are no less a showcase for her uncanny ability to depict how "twisted, chafing, inescapable, and life-supporting" (Alice Munro) the ties that bind families and marriages are. Nowhere are these skills more evident than in her fourth novel, No Place for an Angel, a Jamesian portrait of Cold War America that follows two fracturing marriages—Catherine and Jerry Sasser, a Texas heiress and a ruthless political fixer, and Irene and Charles Waddell, a worldly pair involved with American policymaking in Italy—as they cross paths from the oil fields of Texas to Rome and New York. Witty, mordant, but above all deeply perceptive of the secret emotional worlds of her characters, Spencer portrays the limitless ambition of the postwar world, the soaring rise of her characters, and, finally, their diminishing fortunes, which lead to smaller but firmer destinies.