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A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee

A Thousand Pardons

Family Drama   Thriller / Suspense   Family Drama   Literary Fiction   
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Described by Pulitzer Prize Winning author Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad) as ‘a rare thing a genuine literary thriller - suspenseful and packed with dramatic events’ - and we can only agree that this page-turner is a masterful piece of writing, full of insight and a ‘must read’. A Thousand Pardons is an elegant, audacious, gripping and sharply observed novel about a marriage in ruins and a family in crisis; about the limits of self-invention and the seduction of self-destruction.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for A Thousand Pardons, a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'There is something in A Thousand Pardons that every reader can relate to' - Linda Hill. Scroll down to read more reviews.

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A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee

Ben and Helen Armstead have reached breaking point and it takes one afternoon - and a single act of recklessness - for Ben to deal the final blow to their marriage, spectacularly demolishing everything they built together. Helen and her teenage daughter Sara leave for Manhattan where Helen takes a job in PR - her first in many years - and discovers she has a gift for spinning crises into second chances. But can she apply her professional talent to her personal life? A Thousand Pardons is an elegant, audacious, gripping and sharply observed novel about a marriage in ruins and a family in crisis; about the limits of self-invention and the seduction of self-destruction.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review A Thousand Pardons. You can read their reviews below.

Linda Hill - 'There is something in A Thousand Pardons that every reader can relate to. It's one of those books that seems unprepossessing but works its way under your skin so that it is a hugely satisfying read.' Click here to read the full review.

Tracey Poulter - 'This is a book about a marriage in meltdown, one spectacular act of recklessness and how we all get a thousand pardons. A thought-provoking read.' Click here to read the full review.

Sarah Bedwell - 'A Thousand Pardons is a novel that gripped me from start to finish...I felt an immediate engagement with the central characters, and was able to identify with their feelings and choices even when disagreeing with their actions.' Click here to read the full review.

Cyllene Griffiths - 'This is an elegantly crafted tale, which moves swiftly through the ruins of a broken marriage, the breakup, and the consequences for the whole family.' Click here to read the full review.

Nicola Foster - - 'I was unable to put this book down, reading it in virtually one sitting. There is something sinfully voyeuristic in exploring how the other half lives, particularly when we can then witness their lives being torn apart in such a spectacular fashion.' Click here to read the full review.

Rebecca Jayne Barrett - - 'A Thousand Pardons was everything I hoped it would be and more... a captivating and wonderful book that I would recommend highly.' Click here to read the full review.

Shelley Fallows - 'I thoroughly enjoyed this take on modern family life. I found myself drawn into the lives of Ben, Helen and Sara from the very first page.' Click here to read the full review.

Susan Walsh - 'A fabulous read. I loved this book from the very beginning, right through to the end. A great read, that many of us today could relate to, in these times!' Click here to read the full review.

Reba Khatun - 'The book is written from different viewpoints which really makes you engage with the characters and story even more.' Click here to read the full review.

Sallyann Spittle - 'This book took me quite a few pages to get into but once I had arrived, wow - what a journey...A great book - if you like contemporary american fiction - you will love this.' Click here to read the full review.

Josie Barton - 'Whilst A Thousand Pardons is a very modern story about the breakdown of a marriage, it is also the story of the minutiae of daily life and the seemingly mindless boredom which all too easily invades hopes and dreams.' Click here to read the full review.

Phylippa Smithson - 'For me, A Thousand Pardons was a book of two parts. Not literally but the satisfaction and enjoyment that I took from the book.' Click here to read the full review.

Jane Pepler - 'I enjoyed this novel very much despite my reservations when I first started reading it. I thought that it would turn out to be a typical American novel about the privileged rich. Instead it turned out to be a story about a dysfunctional family.' Click here to read the full review.

Lynn Curtiss - ' This is a classic example of a high-concept novel: Jonathan Dee has noticed the tendency for big corporations and celebrities to face up to their misdeeds with well-crafted displays of public remorse...' Click here to read the full review.

Donna Smith - 'This is an easy well paced book, I am not sure I would call it a thriller, more of an OK read, but never actually finishes everything it drops into the story, there are several potentials that are not realised.' Click here to read the full review.

Ray Orgill
- 'Jonathan Dee's novel begins around a perfect family of two parents and an adopted Asian child and who appear to have everything worth hanging on to...A real page turner.' Click here to read the full review.

Suzan Marsh - - 'FULL OF DRAMA! DRAMA! Ben & Helen Armstead do not speak or touch each other any more to seek help they have a weekly visit to see Dr Becket.' Click here to read the full review.

Kath Thornton
- 'A Thousand Pardons is a good and easy read with depth to the characters portrayed. It has an interesting and absorbing storyline.' Click here to read the full review.

Sue Broom
- 'Dee writes with a perceptive humour that I found very appealing. He gets inside his characters to the extent I felt I knew them too and understood their predicaments and longings...A terrific read, make space for it in your holiday suitcase.' Click here to read the full review.

Julie Bertschin
- 'The novel shows how the feeling of dissatisfaction with one’s life is a common phenomenon no matter how successful one becomes. I enjoyed this story, it is both touching and intriguing.' Click here to read the full review.

Elisabeth Thomas
- 'I would recommend this book for anyone male or female. The book would particularly be enjoyed those who enjoy intelligent, contemporary American fiction about family relationships and how complex these have become in the 21st Century.' Click here to read the full review.

Debbie Patrick
- 'What can I say about this book? It looks nice & the read up on the back makes it sound interesting...However, I was very disappointed in it.' Click here to read the full review.


Praise for Jonathan Dee:

'A Thousand Pardons is that rare thing: a genuine literary thriller. Eerily suspenseful and packed with dramatic event, it also offers a trenchant, hilarious portrait of our collective longing for authenticity in these over-mediated times.' -- Jennifer Egan

'Guilt, redemption and the American dream of starting afresh are Pulitzer-Prize nominee Jonathan Dee's themes in this thoroughly enjoyable comic tale.' -- Stephanie Cross Daily Mail

'The American novelist who has his finger on the pulse.' -- Mark Lawson BBC Front Row

'Deliciously readable.' Irish Independent

'Slickly written and great entertainment.' Evening Standard

'Part relationship drama, part thriller, this is one of our favourite books of the year so far.' Bella

'...shrewdly observed and compulsively readable.' Literary Review

'With his sixth novel, Pulitzer finalist Dee has written a page turner without sacrificing a smidgen of psychological insight. What a triumph.' Kirkus (Starred Review)

'Dee is an expert at encapsulating the vacuous marriage of two WASPs. Stylist Dee is adept at meshing the complexities of marriage and family life with the paradoxes of the zeitgeist. In his sixth meticulously lathed and magnetizing novel, he riffs on the practice of crisis management... [and] nets the absurdities of a society geared to communicate in a thousand electronic modes while those closest to each other can barely make eye connect. Booklist Totally grpping.' Saga Magazine

About the Author

Jonathan Dee

Jonathan Dee is the author of five previous novels, most recently The Privileges, which was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. He is a contributing editor for The New York Times magazine, a frequent literary critic for Harper’s and a former senior editor of The Paris Review. He teaches in the graduate writing programs at Columbia University and the New School. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th September 2013


Jonathan Dee

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Corsair an imprint of Constable and Robinson


288 pages


Family Drama
Thriller / Suspense
Family Drama
Literary Fiction

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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