Ben Hamilton

Snowy days in Saratoga Springs

A father struggles to understand why one daughter finds happiness easy while the other is plagued by depression

Alan Querry, the central figure in James Wood’s second novel, is someone who, in his own words, doesn’t ‘think about life too much’. His peculiar surname may recall the brooding, godforsaken Querry of Graham Greene’s A Burnt-Out Case, but this Querry — who lives in ‘the poshest part of Northumberland’ — isn’t much troubled by God’s presence or absence: ‘he had a notion that “the question of God” might all have been more or less sorted out in his lifetime, like Cyprus or polio.’

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