A Weekend in New York

Benjamin Markovits

A brilliant new novel of family life from one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists and the winner of the James Tait Black Award: Ben Markovits.

Date Published
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‘What are you feeling so anxious about? I’m the guy who has to go out there and lose.’
‘That’s what I don’t like. That’s what you don’t realise. It’s harder on the rest of us.’
‘I’m sure it must be,’ he said.

Tolstoy claimed: ‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’. But what if the happy families are actually the most unusual of all?

Paul Essinger is a mid-ranking tennis professional on the ATP tour. His girlfriend Dana is an ex-model and photographer, and the mother of their two-year-old son, Cal. Together they form a tableau of the contented upper-middle-class New York family. But summer storms are blowing through Manhattan, and Paul’s parents have come to stay in the build-up to the US Open. Over the course of the weekend, several generations of domestic tension are brought to boiling point . . .

What does it mean to be a family? To be an individual? And how do we deal with the responsibilities these roles impose upon us? A Weekend In New York intertwines the politics of the household and the state to forge a luminous national portrait on a deceptively local scale. Recalling some of America’s most celebrated novelists – this is John Updike’s Rabbit for a new generation – Benjamin Markovits’ writing reminds us of the heights that social realism can reach.

Critic Reviews

In tender, compassionate prose and a deftly compressed time-scheme, Markovits glints through desire, ennui, misunderstanding, and love, illuminating one family's life so that it glows collectively like a human panorama.

Jonathan Lethem
Critic Reviews

‘This is a novel where every detail is determined. It is not an easy read, but it is a rewarding one. It would be a failure on my part to reveal the ending(s) but they are both perfectly satisfying and bravely open. Were I a betting man I would put money on this making the longlist for the Man Booker Prize this year. Even if it does not, I will remember it for a long, long time.’

Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday
Critic Reviews

‘Intimate, funny and agile enough to capture the ever-shifting sands on which family life is built … masterfully done.’

Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

Markovits' elegant, absorbing eighth novel ... He wears his sporting knowledge with a light, limber confidence. He’s terrific on the fine-grained detail of the athlete’s life ... What a fine ear Markovits has for the way people talk ... Incrementally, over the course of the weekend, we’ve grown attuned to the lives of Markovits’s first-world also-rans, thrilled by their series of close-volley dramas like spectators in the stands of an outside court ... It feels momentous, a catalyst for change, and the outcome sends ripples into the future.

Xan Brooks, Guardian, 'Book of the Day'
Critic Reviews

‘A book to be savoured … for its granular evocation of family life … Hugely enjoyable.’

Anthony Cummins, Observer
Critic Reviews

Scrupulous social realism … what’s most striking about the novel is Markovits’s [Anne] Tyler-like ability to be both completely unsparing about, and warmly accepting of, the sheer weirdness of family life.

James Walton, Daily Telegraph

Benjamin Markovits grew up in Texas, London and Berlin. He is the author of eleven novels, including Either Side of Winter, You Don’t Have To Live Like This, and Christmas in Austin. He has published essays, stories, poetry and reviews on subjects ranging from the Romantics to American sports in the Guardian, Granta, The Paris Review and The New York…

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